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Win-win formula


Friendly cooperation has become a strong consensus and aspiration of China and Thailand

This year marks the 47th anniversary of the establishment of China-Thailand diplomatic ties and the 10th anniversary of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries. The two nations have taken the lead in issuing a joint statement on cooperation in the 21st century, promoting strategic cooperation, implementing a zero-tariff arrangement on vegetables and fruits within the framework of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, establishing a security and defense consultation mechanism, and holding joint military exercises and training. The first China Culture Center in the Southeast Asia was launched in Bangkok. These achievements stem from the long and profound friendship between the two countries and the concerted efforts of both sides.

Treating each other with sincerity, the two countries have laid a solid foundation for all-round cooperation with political mutual trust. China and Thailand have always respected each other's core interests and major concerns, and supported each other in seeking development paths suitable to their own national conditions. China-Thailand relations have withstood the test of international and regional vicissitudes, and explored a successful path for developing good neighborly ties between countries with different social systems and economic sizes. The leaders of the two states have maintained regular contacts through mutual visits, letters or telephone calls, steering the development of bilateral relations. The two sides have also conducted timely and in-depth communication on major issues through bilateral mechanisms such as strategic dialogues, and therefore, our political mutual trust has been constantly consolidated and deepened.

Valuing friendship and good faith, the two sides have been shoulder to shoulder in times of difficulties. China and Thailand always help each other in times of adversity. Whenever natural disasters or major challenges occur, be it the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in China, the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, the Asian financial crisis in 1997 or the 2003 SARS pandemic, China and Thailand always provide assistance to each other at the earliest time possible.

The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has once again highlighted the sincere friendship between the two countries through thick and thin. As the epidemic worsened in Thailand, China took the lead in providing vaccine assistance despite a very tight domestic vaccine supply. A total of 50.85 million doses of Chinese vaccines played an important role in helping Thailand build a timely and effective immunity barrier.

Real results-oriented, practical cooperation between the two countries has benefited both peoples. Despite the pandemic, the pragmatic cooperation between the two countries has increased. In 2021, trade volume between China and Thailand reached $131.2 billion, a year-on-year increase of 33 percent, and China has been Thailand's largest trading partner for nine consecutive years. In recent years, China has remained among the top three sources of Thailand's foreign investment, in particular in industries such as e-commerce, 5G communications, rubber, photovoltaic, and new energy vehicles, which have showed remarkable growth in Thailand.

And Thailand's investment in China has also maintained a sound momentum of growth. The two countries have been deepening their cooperation in infrastructure construction. The China-Thailand Railway project is progressing at a faster pace and will be connected with the China-Laos Railway to form a transport artery running through the Indochina Peninsula.

One heart to another, people-to-people and cultural cooperation have helped to forge closer ties between Chinese and Thai citizens. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, China was the largest source of international students in Thailand and each year more than 10 million Chinese tourists visited the country, accounting for more than a quarter of the latter's foreign tourists. As the first country to incorporate Chinese language into its national education system, Thailand has millions of Chinese language and culture learners. China's excellent films, television and literary works have created waves of enthusiasm in Thailand.

Sharing the common vision, the two countries have joined hands to safeguard international and regional peace and development. The Thai side agrees with the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping, actively promotes cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and has made important progress in many aspects. The two states maintain close coordination and cooperation under regional multilateral frameworks such as the Lancang-Mekong and China-ASEAN cooperation mechanisms, work together to safeguard ASEAN centrality in the region and advocate a just and reasonable international order. At the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers' Meeting and the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in June this year, the two countries reached many important consensuses on regional cooperation. Thailand fully supports the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative proposed by China, and was invited to attend the High-level Dialogue on Global Development. As the most critical economic cooperation mechanism in the Asia-Pacific region, APEC is at a critical phase of development. China firmly supports Thailand in hosting this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting and promoting progress in all fields under the APEC framework.

The Communist Party of China is expected to convene its 20th National Congress soon. Under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi at the core, the Chinese people of all ethnic groups are embarking on a new journey of building a modern socialist country with Chinese characteristics in an all-round way. China's implementation of the new development philosophy, construction of a new development paradigm and efforts to achieve high-quality growth are expected to help create a stimulus effect and benefit the social-economic development of countries in the world, especially its neighboring countries.

In the context of the repeated resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic and global changes unseen in a century, China and Thailand are facing many common development opportunities and complex objective challenges, and further deepening friendly cooperation has become a strong consensus and aspiration of the two peoples. Not long ago, the two sides agreed to build a China-Thailand community with a shared future, enriching the connotation of "China and Thailand are one family" in the new era. This bodes well for a better future of bilateral relations and also puts forward new requirements for the two nations.

To move toward this great goal and vision, China and Thailand need to further enhance political mutual trust, continue to respect each other's core interests and major concerns, and support each other in taking a development path that suits their respective national conditions. The two sides should strengthen exchanges on governance and administration, and implement the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative in Thailand as soon as possible. The two countries should further deepen mutual benefit and win-win results, seek greater synergy between our development strategies, advance the completion of the China-Laos-Thailand railway, create new growth points such as the digital economy and green economy, and constantly expand the achievements of common interests. It is necessary to further pass down our non-governmental friendship, steadily enhance personnel exchanges and people-to-people and cultural cooperation, strengthen friendly contacts between the young people of the two countries, and promote China-Thailand friendship from generation to generation. Both sides should further intensify coordination of international and regional affairs, jointly improve China-ASEAN relations, bolster coordination and cooperation in the United Nations and other multilateral organizations, vigorously promote the universal values such as peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom, and work together to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

In retracing the past, the future can be known. We believe that China-Thailand relations will surely usher in a brighter future, which will better help facilitate the development of the two countries and benefit the two peoples with the leadership of the heads of our two nations and the joint efforts of the two peoples.

The author is the Chinese ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily.The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

Contact the editor at editor@chinawatch.cn