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Carry Forward China-Thailand Traditional Friendship and Set Example for New Type of International Relations

----On 43rd Anniversary of China-Thailand Diplomatic Relations

Mr. Lyu Jian, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Thailand

Today marks the 43rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the People’s Republic of China and the Kingdom of Thailand. Thanks to the care and commitment of leaders of the elder generation, the two countries formally established diplomatic relations on July 1, 1975, and has since then opened up a new page of friendly cooperation. The bilateral relationship has been developing in a sound and stable manner over the past 43 years, setting a good example by co-existing in harmony and pursuing common development.

Both China and Thailand are major developing countries in Asia with time-honored and splendid history. The friendship between the two countries goes back to ancient times. Recorded exchanges between China and Thailand can be traced to the Western Han Dynasty. Frequent business activities between the two countries started around the 10th Century, and there were Chinese relocating in Thailand in the 12th Century. Friendly communication for over 2000 years has made our two countries as close as family.

The past 43 years has given witness to the common progress made by the two countries. China launched reform and opening-up, embarked on the the journey of socialism with Chinese characteristics and became the second largest economy and the largest industrial country in the world. It has successfully lifted over 700 million people out of poverty, contributes over 30% to world economic growth for many years in a row, and promotes the cause of peace and development of mankind. In the meantime, Thailand has been exploring the path of development that suits its national conditions, making efforts to maintain political stability, promoting economic and social development and improving people’s livelihood. Thailand, reputed as one of the “Tiger Cub Economies”, is a major member and the second largest economy of ASEAN. It takes an active part in ASEAN-based regional cooperation and international cooperation on sustainable development, and acts as a strong force upholding peace, development and cooperation of the region and the world at large.

China-Thailand all-round friendly cooperation, political mutual trust, economic relations as well as people-to-people and cultural exchanges also thrive in the process of common development. The high-level of the two countries pay mutual visits to each other like relatives. Many of the Chinese leaders have visited Thailand, while the Thai Royal Family, leaders of governments, parliaments and military also paid multiple visits to China, guiding and promoting the bilateral relationship. China has been the largest trading partner of Thailand for five consecutive years, and the third largest source of investment for Thailand. Thailand is the third largest trading partner of China in ASEAN. The successful launch of the first phase of China-Thailand railway cooperation project has opened up a new dimension in regional interconnectivity. More and more technically advanced, competent and innovative Chinese companies are coming to Thailand, injecting new impetus into Sino-Thai economic cooperation with new economy and new knowledge. Cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries are increasingly active. There are 37,000 Chinese students in Thailand, and 27,000 Thai students in China. Around 1,700 volunteers for Chinese language teaching are working in different parts of Thailand. The two sides also engage in vocational education cooperation in a variety of areas including high-speed rail, aviation, spaceflight, artificial intelligence and logistics management. Last year, Thailand received nearly 10 million Chinese tourists. People-to-people bond is the endless stream of energy pushing China-Thailand friendship ahead. What is commendable is that the two peoples always support and help each other in trying times. The Chinese society has been very concerned about the whereabouts of those young Thai football players and their coach. The Chinese side sympathizes with their families and would like to offer all kinds of necessary assistance.

Today, both China and Thailand are faced with a world undergoing major development, transformation and adjustment. Unstable and uncertain factors are still on the rise, hegemony and power politics still exist, traditional and non-traditional security threats keep springing up, and unilateralism, trade protectionism and de-globalization have taken on different forms. At the same time, economic globalization, world multipolarization, society informatization and cultural diversity are gaining speed. Peace, development and cooperation remains the general trend and the shared aspiration of the people. Based on his thorough and correct understanding of the trend of the world and the times, President Xi Jinping proposes to build a community of shared future for all mankind with the purpose of upholding world peace and promoting common growth, and foster a new type of international relations based on mutual respect, equity, justice and win-win cooperation.

The new type of international relationship championed by China emphasizes that countries should respect each other’s independent choices of social systems and development paths, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, follow a new mode of state-to-state relationship featuring dialogue rather than confrontation, partnership rather than alignment, so as to achieve win-win and all-win results. This idea transcends traditional theories on international relations, such as zero-sum game, winner-takes-all and playing the bully, and presents a “Chinese approach” to crack difficult problems and defuse challenges and risks.

China-Thailand friendly cooperation is the model for the new type of international relations. The bilateral relationship has harvested abundant fruits as the two countries adhere to the principle of mutual respect, equity, justice and win-win cooperation. Looking in to the future, we have every reason to believe that as long as the two sides stick to the principle of developing the new type of international relations, we could always expect new outcomes in bilateral cooperation.

First, we should further increase the complementarity of our development strategies, firmly support each other in choosing the development path that suits respective national conditions, synergize the Belt and Road Initiative with the Thailand 4.0 Strategy and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in terms of policy, law and enforcement, creating favorable conditions for broader and closer cooperation.

Second, we should deepen and expand practical cooperation in trade. We should, on the one hand, increase the use of technology in traditional industrial cooperation; and on the other hand, encourage cooperation in new industries, conduct more cooperation in modern agriculture, digital economy, high-end manufacturing, new energy and other fields, and make sure that the high-speed rail cooperation will deliver benefits to people living along the railway line as soon as possible. China will continue to take new measures to enhance opening up. We welcome Thailand’s participation in the first China International Import Expo to be held in Shanghai in November this year, and are ready to set up a platform for Thai products and service to tap the Chinese market.

Third, we should strengthen all-round and profound people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Efforts shall be made to press ahead with cooperation in education, culture, science and technology, promote knowledge and technology sharing, talent exchanges and training, especially targeted training on railway, digital economy, small-and-medium sized enterprises, increase the exchange of experience in poverty reduction and rural development, and support think tanks, media, and the youth in carrying out cooperation and communication.

Fourth, we should continuously enlarge regional and international cooperation. Thailand will take over the rotating presidency of ASEAN next year. The Chinese side fully supports Thailand in playing a positive role, and ASEAN’s centrality in regional cooperation. We would like to work together with the Thai side to upgrade China-ASEAN cooperation, push forward Lancang-Mekong cooperation for new outcomes, enhance coordination and cooperation in global governance and sustainable development, lead together open and inclusive regional and international cooperation, and work for the building of a community of shared future for all mankind.

With the wind blowing from the right angle, it is time for us to set sail. China and Thailand are at the new starting point of development. Despite international vicissitudes, as long as the two countries advance hand in hand, their comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation will withstand the test of times, create more benefits for the two peoples and bring the two countries into a new era of common prosperity and development.

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