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FM highlights Thailand's role in China-ASEAN ties

Xinhua

BANGKOK - Visiting Chinese Foreign Minster Wang Yi said here Wednesday that Thailand has been playing a " unique and significant" role in promoting relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

During his meeting with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Wang said Thailand is an important country in the region and a long-time friendly neighbor and strategic partner of China.

Sino-Thai relationship, which is "unique, stable and important", will play an "exemplary" role in the development of China's relations with ASEAN as a whole, the foreign minister said.

On her part, Yingluck noted that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of strategical partnership between China and ASEAN. She said Thailand, as the country coordinator of China-ASEAN relations, will continue to facilitate cooperation in various fields between the two sides.

Speaking highly of the time-honored friendly relations between Thailand and China, Yingluck said her country is willing to deepen comprehensive cooperation with China, by increasing political communication and maintaining the momentum of strong growth in bilateral trade.

The lady prime minister also welcomed more Chinese people to visit the kingdom.

Wang said China's new leadership, which took office in March, will continue to enrich its traditional friendship with Thailand and transform the political ties between the two countries into a strong driving force to boost mutual beneficial cooperation.

The foreign minister suggested that China and Thailand deepen cooperation in fields of water management, railway, new energy and education and expand exchanges in science, defence, tourism, etc.

He said China expects to closely coordinate with Thailand in dealing with international and regional issues.

When asked why choosing ASEAN countries as the first destination of his official visit as foreign minister, Wang said China always attaches great importance to cementing ties with the bloc, a close neighbor. "It showcases that China's new leadership highly values its relations with ASEAN," he said.

The foreign minister said China-ASEAN relations now stand on a new starting point which will usher in more new opportunities.

To clarify the stance of China's new leadership on ASEAN, Wang said China is committed to strengthening its good-neighborly and friendly cooperation with ASEAN, consolidating its strategic partnership with ASEAN and conducting friendly consultations to properly handle differences and problems with some members of the bloc.

Wang also held talks with Suraporn Tovichakchaikul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and met with Thai Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda and former deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai.

At the invitation of Suraporn, Wang arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday for a two-day official visit. This is the first leg of his six-day ASEAN trip which will also take him to Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei.