CHIANGRAI TIMES – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s visit to China this week has upgraded bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
In a speech delivered to a Chinese Communist Party political school yesterday, Yingluck said the strategic partnership ties comprised development cooperation in all sectors, such as high-speed trains, renewable energy and water management.
Chinese technology in a number of sectors is extremely helpful for Thailand’s development, she said.
The fact that both countries are engaging each other within the Asean framework – Thailand as a founding member of Asean and China as a long-time dialogue partner of the grouping – should lead to further cooperation to cope with all regional challenges, she said.
These challenges include maritime security, natural disasters and drug trafficking, the PM added.
China has also played a crucial role in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, which is a sub-regional development scheme to upgrade infrastructure and reduce poverty, she said.
Under this development scheme, it is my pleasure to inform you that a Mekong bridge between Thailand’s Chiang Rai and Laos’s Huay Xaiwhich provinces, connecting Yunnan in China to Thailand, will be opened on the 12th day of the 12th month of the year 2012, she said.
Thailand is a good strategic point for China’s “Southward and Go Global” policy, as the country is the closest market and source of material supply for China, Yingluck said.
The prime minister is leading a huge delegation of Thai officials and private-sector representatives to forge closer ties with China during a four-day visit lasting until tomorrow.
Beijing likely gave a high priority to her visit, Yingluck said, as well as agreeing to extend the stay of the giant-panda family in Chiang Mai Zoo for three years beyond the original scheduled expiry at the end of next year.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told his opposite number during a meeting on Tuesday at the Great Hall of the People that “establishing the China-Thailand strategic cooperative partnership is of great significance for both countries and the peaceful development of East Asia”.
“China hopes to enhance strategic communication with Thailand, jointly face challenges and boost cooperation in diversified areas,” he added.
The Chinese premier proposed expanding bilateral trade to US$100 billion (about Bt3 trillion) before 2015, and enhancing cooperation in ocean research, telecommunications, technology, energy and agriculture.
Xinhua news agency said Wen had pledged continuous support for Thailand in its post-disaster reconstruction and water-conservancy programme following last year’s devastating floods, the worst to hit the country in nearly 50 years.
The two premiers also agreed to boost joint patrols on the China, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar borders along the Mekong River, and to jointly safeguard peace and stability on the South China Sea, the agency said.
Yingluck also said Thailand would conclude as soon as possible judicial proceedings regarding the murder of 13 Chinese crewmen in Chiang Rai last October, and punish those found guilty in accordance with the law.
After their talks, Yingluck and Wen witnessed the sealing of seven bilateral cooperation agreements on issues ranging from trade, agriculture and railways to flood and drought prevention and ocean research.