Written by Huang Lixia / Translated by Chen Zhiying
2022 marks the 10th Anniversary of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Thailand. Taking opportunities brought by RCEP’s entry into force, China and Thailand continue to deepen cooperation in multi fields, together writing a new chapter of “China and Thailand are one family”.
The 19th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) was held from September 16-19 in Nanning, Guangxi. During the CAEXPO, H.E. Atthayut Srisamut, Ambassador of Thailand to China, answered reporters’ questions about the CAEXPO, RCEP’s implementation, and future development of China-Thailand relations.
Jointly building the Belt and Road, China and Thailand usher in a new chapter of cooperation
“Friendly relations between China and Thailand will bring more cooperation,” said H.E. Atthayut Srisamut. According to him, China and Thailand enjoy a long history of cordial relations, with trade exchanges carried out since ancient times. The two sides understand and trust each other well.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Thailand, both sides have witnessed close relations and frequent exchanges, with in-depth cooperation conducted in various fields. In recent years, China continues to promote practical cooperation with Thailand, specifically, aligning jointly building the Belt and Road with “Thailand 4.0” and East Economic Corridor. In 2021, bilateral trade volume reached US$ 131.2 billion, a year-on-year increase of 33%. China became Thailand’s largest trading partner for many consecutive years.
China-Thailand Railway, another major project under the Belt and Road to promote connectivity, adds lusters to the long-standing China-Thailand relations. At present, the Railway has under full construction. H.E. Atthayut Srisamut hopes the Railway could be completed as early as possible so that to facilitate the import and export of more goods and to bring more understanding and the sharing of information knowledge.
Sharing new opportunities, injecting new impetus for development
In 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping and heads of ASEAN countries officially announced the establishment of the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership, setting a milestone for bilateral relations, sketching the blueprint for China-ASEAN cooperation in the next three decades, and making clear the development direction for the two sides. H.E. Atthayut Srisamut believed it is of great importance to bilateral relations since it helped to safeguard regional peace and stability and promote common development and prosperity.
H.E. Atthayut Srisamut said China has always supported ASEAN to play its role within the region and in the Asia-Pacific region. China is the first country to join the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and also the first to establish free trade areas with ASEAN countries. “Thank China for always supporting ASEAN and Thailand in promoting development and regional cooperation,” said H.E. Atthayut Srisamut.
RCEP’s official entry into force played a positive role in promoting China-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation, regional development and prosperity, and regional economic integration. “The trade volume between China and ASEAN is enormous, and so does the role of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area. RCEP is conducive to strengthening trade exchanges among the 15 member states. Since 2020, ASEAN has surpassed the EU, the United States, and Japan to become China’s largest trading partner. RCEP will provide more opportunities for trade between China and ASEAN,” said H.E. Atthayut Srisamut.
Joining hands with the CAEXPO for a new future
When it came to the CAEXPO, H.E. Atthayut Srisamut said: “The CAEXPO has facilitated trade between China and ASEAN.” He also said that the CAEXPO is important to promote the trade between Thailand and China and that Thailand takes part in the CAEXPO actively every year. “Looking back, one can find that the Prime Minister and Deputy Minister of Thailand both took part in the CAEXPO.
At the opening ceremony of the CAEXPO and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS) this year, Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Thailand, delivered video remarks,” said H.E. Atthayut Srisamut. H.E. Atthayut Srisamut also said that Guangxi is the closest region to ASEAN among other Chinese provinces and regions, while Nanning serves as Guangxi’s gateway to ASEAN. Therefore, bilateral exchange is convenient. “Nanning is the most suitable place to hold CAEXPO each year. The Royal Thai Consulate General in Nanning is willing to further promote trade and investment between China and Thailand,” said H.E. Atthayut Srisamut.