Thailand and China have emphasized their close cooperation under the framework of ASEAN-China cooperation, since Thailand will serve as coordinator for ASEAN-China relations in 2012.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on December 22 discussed bilateral and regional issues with Mr. Xi Jinping, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China, during his official visit to Thailand on December 22-24.
The Prime Minister stated that, as Thailand is regarded as China’s gateway to ASEAN, the Thai government has a policy to promote transportation links between the two nations and other neighboring countries. She cited China as a key player in helping the connectivity of the region and the formation of the ASEAN Community.
The Chinese Vice President told Prime Minister Yingluck that China was ready to support the transportation links and would encourage the Chinese private sector to study the technical aspects of the project.
Both leaders agreed to hold a Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation at the deputy ministerial level to seek new ways to achieve the bilateral trade target of 100 billion US dollars by 2015. During the past five years, Thai-Chinese trade expanded by 20 percent. Prime Minister Yingluck urged the Chinese government to facilitate exports of Thai agricultural products to China.
Regarding investment, Thailand urged China to encourage its private sector to invest in Thailand in the industries that have been given promotion, especially environment-friendly industries and alternative energy. Both sides agreed to increase bilateral investment by 15 percent annually in the next five years.
Concerning tourism cooperation, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand rose by 57 percent in the past year. China agreed to Thailand’s proposal to increase tourist arrivals between the two countries by 20 percent a year. They also agreed to exchange 100 youths each year to support human resource development.
On this occasion, Prime Minister Yingluck and the Chinese Vice President witnessed the signing of six important documents. The first one, the Handover Certificate, involves flood assistance in cash and in kind extended by China to Thailand. Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Kitsana Seehalak represented Thailand in signing this document.
The second document, an MOU on sustainable development, covers four areas: the development of a high-speed train system; water management on a full-cycle basis; research and development on clean energy, renewable energy; and alternative energy, and education and human resource development. Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul signed this MOU on behalf of Thailand.
The third document was on the transfer of prisoners, with Foreign Minister Surapong representing Thailand. The fourth one, the Action Plan on Sino-Thai Cultural Cooperation for 2011-2013, was signed by Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome on behalf of the Thai government. The fifth was an MOU on maritime cooperation, with Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Preecha Rengsomboonsuk signing on behalf of Thailand. The last one was the Bilateral Swap Agreement, with Governor of the Bank of Thailand Prasarn Trairatvorakul representing Thailand in signing this document.