Xi's visit a milestone in China-Thailand ties, says Chinese ambassador

A logo of APEC 2022 is pictured on a street in Bangkok, Thailand, Nov. 16, 2022. (Photo: Xinhua)

BANGKOK, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Thailand, his first as the Chinese head of state, is of milestone significance in guiding and advancing bilateral relations, Chinese Ambassador to Thailand Han Zhiqiang has said.

From Thursday to Saturday, Xi will attend the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting here in the Thai capital and visit the country at the invitation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of the Kingdom of Thailand.

Under the new historical conditions, China-Thailand relations face unprecedented development opportunities with huge potential and broad prospects, Han said in a recent joint interview with Chinese and Thai media.

He believes that Xi will work with leaders of Thailand to chart the course for and inject strong momentum into the long-term development of China-Thailand relations, making the visit a new milestone in the history of bilateral ties.

Noting that people of the two countries have enjoyed a long history of friendly exchanges, he also said that since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the two countries have worked together to tackle it and drive economic recovery, writing a new chapter of relations in which China and Thailand share weal and woe.

This year marks the 47th anniversary of China-Thailand diplomatic ties and the 10th anniversary of the China-Thailand comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

The ambassador said China is Thailand's largest trading partner, largest export market for agricultural products and a major source of foreign investment.

In recent years, bilateral economic and trade cooperation has been on the rise despite the impact of COVID-19. In 2021, bilateral trade exceeded 100 billion U.S. dollars for the first time and is expected to hit a record high this year, he noted.

Regarding connectivity, Han said speeding up the construction of the China-Thailand high-speed railway and connecting it with the China-Laos Railway to form an artery running through the Indo-China Peninsula will facilitate the flow of people and logistics, promote economic and trade development and achieve common prosperity.

Since its opening nearly a year ago, the China-Laos Railway has carried more than 10 million tons of cargo, many of which are between China and Thailand, he noted.

On industrial cooperation, Han said Chinese enterprises' investment in Thailand has been growing rapidly in recent years, and there are broad prospects for cooperation in cutting-edge areas in particular.

In digital economy, green economy and new energy, bilateral cooperation is flourishing, he said, noting that China's 5G technology, e-commerce, electric vehicles and photovoltaic products have boosted Thailand's new economy and are becoming major growth drivers of the mutually beneficial cooperation.

As developing countries and close neighbors, China and Thailand share many common interests, propositions and positions on major international and regional issues, said the ambassador.

In June, Thai Prime Minister Prayut attended the High-level Dialogue on Global Development chaired by Xi. In September, Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai attended the Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative (GDI). Both demonstrated Thailand's strong support for the GDI proposed by Xi, he said.

Thailand has also attached great importance and responded positively to the Global Security Initiative that Xi proposed to solve the global security dilemma, he added.

Regarding the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, Han said that in the current complex and volatile international situation, the meeting's theme of "Open, Connect, Balance" meets the common needs of development and cooperation in Asia-Pacific, and is conducive to promoting economic cooperation in the region.

China supports Thailand's important role as the host, and Xi will put forward China's solutions and ideas on the development of APEC, improvement of global governance and world economic recovery, he said.