China action plan hatches
The new Joint Action Plan on Thailand–China Strategic Cooperation (2017–2021) will focus on further enhancing bilateral cooperation in accordance with China's One Belt One Road policy and the Thailand 4.0 scheme.
According to the draft plan, Thailand and China aim to increase bilateral trade to US$120 billion (3.99 trillion baht) by the end of 2020. Current bilateral trade is valued at $70 billion.
For transportation and infrastructure, the plan aims to increase the use of infrastructure that would foster connectivity between the two countries, such as the 4th Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge as part of the R3 route connecting Chiang Rai to Kunming, along with development of other initiatives including the Eastern Economic Corridor.
Meanwhile, the Cross-Border Transport Agreement in the Greater Mekong Sub-region is set to be implemented.
The cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft for a third action plan intended to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries.
It would include three more areas of cooperation: Occupational health and safety, natural resources and environment, and media and public relations. This is on top of 17 areas of cooperation already spelled out in the first and second action plans.
That green light came ahead of a scheduled trip by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is set to attend a BRICS Summit, a meeting involving the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in Xiamen, China on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
Gen Prayut will sign a 3.5 billion baht construction supervision contract for the Thai-Chinese railway project on Monday during his visit to China.
The second joint action plan between Thailand and China ended in 2016.
The third joint action plan has been drafted to provide a further framework and guidance to help advance strategic cooperation between the two countries.
That action plan covers cooperation on politics, economics, society and culture, science and technology.