China, Thailand move toward bright future together
In my recent communication with friends from Thailand, I was asked for more information about the 19th National Congress held in Beijing from Oct 18-24. The most frequently asked questions were: "What is the significance of the 19th National Congress for China and for the world?", "How will it affect the China-Thailand relationship?", and "How shall we seize the opportunity to promote the China-Thailand relationship?".
The 19th National Congress generates new opportunities for China-Thailand cooperation.
First, there will be opportunities for the two countries to share experiences in state governance so as to build up confidence in the path of development that suits respective national conditions. China's course of development offers other developing countries a new approach toward modernisation.
Both China and Thailand are developing countries at similar development stage with similar development tasks. China pursues innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development and stays committed to developing a modernised economy, while Thailand upholds the "sufficiency economy" proposed by His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, has put forward Thailand 4.0, Digital Thailand and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), and is working on a national development strategy for the next 20 years.
In the future, China and Thailand can have more communication on development philosophy, strategies and measures to learn from and complement each other, and add fresh impetus to each other's growth.
Second, there will be opportunities for the two countries to conduct mutually beneficial cooperation with a higher quality at a higher level and jointly promote economic and social development. China's new policies and plans for building a modern socialist China, such as supply-side structural reform, industrial transformation and upgrading, innovative growth and Belt and Road international cooperation, have provided historic chances for China and Thailand to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation.
As the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia with advantages in geographical location and business environment, Thailand can also play an important role in and gain long-term benefits from the Belt and Road initiative. Over the years, China has made progress and gathered abundant experience in the digital economy, the sharing economy, clean energy and other fields, and is working to build new areas, such as the Xiong'an New Area and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. China is willing to explore cooperation in the above areas with the Thai side.
Third, there will be opportunities for the two countries to expand cooperation in international and regional affairs, and press ahead with the building of a community of a shared future in Asia. China values the influence and role of Thailand in international and regional affairs, and thus invited Thailand to the G20 Hangzhou Summit last year as the chair of G77 and for the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries held on the sidelines of the Brics Xiamen Summit in September as the sole representative of the region.
The Chinese side will continue to support Thailand in taking part in international and regional affairs, expanding bilateral and friendly cooperation with Thailand to cover multilateral areas.
Thanks to the concerted efforts of both sides, the China-Thailand comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership is making steady progress, and the concept of "Jeen Thai Pee Nong Gan" is taking deep root in the hearts of the two peoples. China-Thailand ties, which have arrived at a historic new starting point, are faced with hard-won opportunities. Further advancement of the relationship serves the interests and meets the aspirations of both sides.
The two sides should step up exchanges, enhance political mutual trust and friendly feelings. Leaders of China and Thailand frequently visit each other like relatives do and have a strong affection for each other. In the new era, we should carry forward the fine tradition, increase high-level exchanges, and give full play to the leading role of the higher level. The important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha during their multiple meetings on cooperation in different fields serves as a strong political support for the development of bilateral relations.
The two sides should take bold moves in innovation and promote mutually beneficial cooperation in economic and social development. Both countries are faced with the task of securing balanced economic and social development and transcending the middle-income trap. We should deepen and expand practical cooperation in trade and work together to push for economic upgrading.
The two sides should uphold innovation-driven strategy by adding more technical content to traditional industrial cooperation and promoting cooperation in new industrial models. New growth points for bilateral cooperation have been forged in e-commerce, logistics, satellites, navigation systems and other fields. Advanced Chinese firms like Alibaba, Jingdong and Huawei have come to Thailand for investment. This will bring cooperation to a higher level.
The Chinese side is ready to encourage companies with strength in funds and technology to engage in the building of the EEC, translating railway cooperation into tangible benefits for the Thai people and people of the region.
Poverty reduction is an important part of social development. In the past five years, China has lifted over 60 million people out of poverty. The Chinese side would like to strengthen cooperation with Thailand in this regard and share useful experiences.
The two sides should take one step further and conduct all-dimensional and in-depth people-to-people and cultural exchanges. China and Thailand cooperate closely in tourism. Nearly 10 million people travel between the two countries. In this connection, cultural festivals, film festivals or other regular exchange programmes can be introduced to the public.
Education cooperation between the two countries is also very close. There are 31,000 Chinese students studying in Thailand, and more than 20,000 Thai students in China. The two sides should encourage the youth of the two countries to enhance mutual understanding and friendship. Vocational education is a key area in bilateral education cooperation. The Chinese side supports vocational education schools of the two sides in stepping up cooperation, welcoming Thailand's participation in the World Skills Competition to be held in Shanghai in 2021.
The two sides should expand cooperation in regional and international affairs through close coordination. The Chinese side will work alongside the Thai side to upgrade China-Asean cooperation, further advance Lancang-Mekong River Cooperation, take the lead in promoting open and inclusive cooperation in the region, and build a community of a shared future in Asia.
China and Thailand should strengthen coordination and cooperation in Apec (the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), Asian Cooperation Dialogue, Asem (the Asia-Europe Summit) and the UN, jointly advocate international cooperation in development, and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Despite the changes in the international landscape, as long as China and Thailand cooperate wholeheartedly, seize the opportunities and rise to the challenges, the relationship is bound to embrace a brighter future.
Lyu Jian is the Chinese ambassador to Thailand.
Lyu Jian is Chinese ambassador to Thailand.