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Interview: Chinese premier's visit to enrich Sino-Thai partnership: ambassador

BANGKOK, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Thailand will enrich the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation between the two countries, Chinese ambassador to Thailand Guan Mu said.

Wen's two-day official visit starting Tuesday will be the first by a Chinese leader to the country after the recently-concluded 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Guan said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

During the visit, Wen will meet with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to exchange views on regional and international issues of common concern, Guan said.

They will both attend the inauguration ceremony of the China Cultural Center in Bangkok. The project, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, will serve as a platform for cementing friendship between the people of the two countries, he said.

Meanwhile, Premier Wen will also meet with Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda and other officials of the council, the ambassador said.

Looking back at the history of Sino-Thai relations, Guan said that since the establishment of diplomatic ties 37 years ago, the two countries have enhanced mutual trust in politics, shared mutual benefits in trade and economy and actively interacted with each other in culture and education.

Earlier this year, they upgraded their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation, which has provided a strong and sustained momentum for a continuous, comprehensive and in-depth development of bilateral ties, said Guan.

China has become Thailand's largest export destination and second largest import source, while Thailand is China's second largest trade partner among ASEAN countries, he noted.

On top of that, the two sides have also carried out close cooperation in high-speed railway construction, human resources development, water resources management and clean energy development, he added.

As for regional cooperation, Guan said Thailand is the first ASEAN country to establish strategic cooperative relations with China and is also the first in the bloc to sign an Early Harvest agreement with China.

The China-ASEAN Early Harvest Program was launched in 2004 under which import duties for agricultural and other selected products were eliminated in January, 2006.

As coordinator for China-ASEAN relations starting last July, Thailand will further contribute to the healthy development of the China-ASEAN ties and integration of the bloc, he pointed out.

Thanks to joint efforts by China and Thailand to deepen pragmatic cooperation and bring benefits to their people, their ties will have a brighter future and make greater contribution to regional peace and stability, said the ambassador.

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