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A bumpy start to 48 years of Chinese relations

Chronicle-Year 1975
China, Thailand friends: China's leader Chairman Mao Tse-tung greets Prime Minister Kukrit Pramoj in a historic meeting in Beijing.

Marking the 48th anniversary of diplomatic ties with China this year, the Bangkok Post presents the results of a study that examined the history of Sino-Thai relations.

The paper, titled "Thailand and the People’s Republic of China: Volatile Politics and Troubles in the Early Years of Diplomatic Relations (1975-1978)" was authored by Sitthiphon Kruarattikan and published by the International Study Centre of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2020.

The research looked into the early years of Sino-Thai relations at a time when the Thai political landscape was rapidly changing.

Democracy was in full bloom after the fall of the military regime led by Field

Trouble on world stage prompts rethink of Thai-China ties

Kukrit Pramoj

As all roads are leading to Beijing, few may realise that 48 years ago a proposal to revive official ties with the communist regime was considered controversial, if not unpopular.

Then, Thailand was closer to the United States and the Republic of China, known as Taiwan, than it was with mainland China. Moreover, the People's Republic of China was eyed suspiciously as a key supporter of the banned Communist Party of Thailand (CPT).

Contact persisted despite the political climate: remittances (called poay-guan in one Chinese dialect) sent by Chinese people in Thailand back to their families in mainland China was a common practice.

China VP lauds unshakeable ties on princess's 50th trip

China and Thailand share a close bond, and their cooperation has only strengthened over the years. The Thai royal family has placed great importance on enhancing ties with China, resulting in an irreplaceable and friendly relationship.

This year marks the 48th anniversary of Thai-Chinese diplomatic relations, and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn made her 50th visit to China early last month.

During her trip, the princess met several Chinese dignitaries, including Vice President Han Zheng and Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs.

China ties forged 'not a moment too soon'

Chronicle-Year 1975
Senior Thai and Chinese government officials gather to formally establish diplomatic relations on 1 July. Signing the documents are Thai Prime Minister MR Kukrij Pramoj (left) and Chinese Prime Minister Chou En-lai.

Forty-eight years ago, Pusadee Keetaworanart, a journalist with Singsian Daily, a Chinese-language daily published in Thailand, was among 30 Thai reporters who joined MR Kukrit Pramoj, then prime minister, in a historic trip to initiate diplomatic ties with China.

That was the first time most people on the trip had visited the communist state, and their first impression of those living in mainland China was that they liked to dress in plain white shirts and black or dark blue trousers. No other colours were seen, which gave these visitors a feeling of them being “simple” and “equal”.

Another impressive fact Ms Pusadee observed during her trip was the Chinese people’s honesty and level of service.

Strong policies, leadership drive China's rise

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan wave upon their arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Samut Prakan on Nov 17. Mr Xi attended the Apec summit in Bangkok.

China relations experts agree that China’s unparalleled rise stems from its government’s strong and purposeful policies as well as the leadership of President Xi Jinping.

Pinit Jarusombat, president of the Thai-Chinese Cultural Relationship Council (TCCRC), says that China achieving its greatness was a decades-long process stemming from a revolutionary war and the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

Many had underestimated China while the country faced large-scale poverty. Now China has become the world’s leading country in food technology and science, he said.

Boost trade, investment ties, TCCRC urges

Pinit Jarusombat, president of the Thai-Chinese Cultural Relationship Council

Thailand should tighten its relationship with China and carry out major development projects to further empower it, according to Pinit Jarusombat, president of the Thai-Chinese Cultural and Relationship Council (TCCRC).

On the 48th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties, Mr Pinit told the Bangkok Post the two sides have a splendid friendship that dates back to ancient times.

Friendly cooperation including trade relations, social contacts and cultural exchanges for over 1,000 years have created family-like bonds among them, he added.

"We are in a new era," he said. "Today, there is no longer one world power. China is strong in economic power, national security and technology.

Carabao Group pours energy drink into China market

Sathien Sathientham, founder and chief executive of Carabao Group

Carabao Group, maker of Thailand's popular Carabao Dang energy drink, is looking toward the Chinese market for expansion as China's economy continues to grow, according to its Chief Executive Officer Sathien Sathientham.

Speaking ahead of the 48th anniversary of Thai-Sino bilateral ties in July, Mr Sathien said mainland China now has 1.45 billion people. As a result, China has become a major economic force in the world and a market with plenty of business opportunities.

"So, Carabao Group wants to expand its energy drink market in China,'' he said.

Lenso Corporation urges Chinese authorities to enhance trade standards for foreign enterprises

Lenso Corporation, a prominent company with a long history of doing business in China, calls on the Chinese authorities to prioritise trade standards with foreign enterprises, highlighting the continued commercial opportunities offered by China in the global market.

Lenso Corporation Public Company Limited has called on the Chinese authorities to uphold trade standards between China and foreign enterprises, emphasising that China still presents commercial opportunities for the global market. Jesada Viraporn, the chairman of Lenso Corporation, disclosed that the company commenced its business ventures with China in 1973-1974. Reflecting on the initial period, he mentioned the inconvenience of travel due to the absence of direct flights from Thailand to China. However, despite the challenges, they recognised the potential opportunities in China. Mr Jesada remarked that in Shanghai and Guangzhou, people were still attired in navy clothes and used bicycles as a primary mode of transportation.

TCCEA emphasises strong China-Thailand ties and mutual benefits

TCCEA VP, Gen Vichit Yathip, highlights the enduring bond between China and Thailand, emphasising the significant growth in economic and trade cooperation while calling on the new Thai government to prioritise maintaining healthy relations.

China and Thailand share robust ties, and their economic and trade cooperation has witnessed significant growth through their military diplomacy relations, according to Gen Vichit Yathip, vice-president of the Thai-Chinese Culture and Economy Association (TCCEA). Speaking on the occasion of the 48th anniversary of Thai-Sino relations, Gen Vichit emphasised the new Thai government’s responsibility to foster strong and mutually beneficial relationships with China.

Nerver-ending story

Lin Hui

Panda politics

China started gifting giant pandas to other countries in 1941 as a tool of diplomacy. After a policy adjustment in 1984 following a huge decrease in the giant panda population, the country's cuddliest diplomats have been sent to other countries on a lease term instead of gifted. Thailand is no exception.

In 2001, Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, then a deputy prime minister, started a bilateral dialogue between China and Thailand for an agreement to have giant pandas sent here as a symbol of friendship between the two nations.

Just two years later, two giant pandas were sent to Thailand as part of a 10-year breeding conservation programme. The male panda, Chuang Chuang, and female counterpart, Lin Hui, suddenly became the stars of Chiang Mai Zoo.

Chinese growing in popularity

Chinese growing in popularity

Mandarin Chinese is one of the most popular foreign languages among Thais wishing to take up another language, with many believing proficiency in Mandarin can help them secure high-paying jobs.

According to Pusadee Keetaworanart, manager of Oriental Culture Academy, a Chinese language school in Pathumwan district, an increasing number of Thai students are taking up Chinese, with the hope of landing a job with a big Chinese company once they graduate.

She said many believe that fluency in Chinese will help them secure a high-paying job.