BANGKOK – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived here Friday for an official visit to Thailand, the second leg of his maiden trip to Southeast Asia since he took office in March.
Li is scheduled to meet the Thai royal family and leaders of the government and the parliament for an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral ties as well as on regional and global issues of common concern.
He will also address the Thai parliament during his three-day stay in the country.
China is now the largest trading partner of Thailand, with bilateral trade reaching nearly 70 billion U.S. dollars last year and targeting 100 billion dollars by 2015. Thailand is China’s second largest trade partner in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The two countries agreed to build a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership last year during Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s visit to Beijing. Thailand also serves as the country coordinator for China-ASEAN relations.
Thai Deputy Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan has said he expects Li’s visit to “add some new contents” to bilateral cooperation.
China and Thailand have agreed on four key cooperation areas, including railway, water management, clean energy and education, and have inked a series of cooperation deals.
Chinese ambassador to Thailand Ning Fukui put particular emphasis on the need to advance pragmatic cooperation in developing Thailand’s infrastructure projects such as water management and railway construction.
“It will stimulate the economic growth of the two countries, bring benefits to the people and contribute to the development of China-ASEAN relations,” Ning said.
Before arriving in Bangkok, Li attended a series of summits with East Asian leaders in Brunei and paid an official visit to the country.
After his stay in Thailand, the Chinese premier will travel on to Vietnam for an official visit.