Saturday, 22 June, 2024

Prospects, future development trend of China-Thailand relations

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) meets with Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, June 8, 2021. /Chinese Foreign Ministry

Yin yan e and Lu junyu

At present, the cooperation between China and Thailand in various fields has made great progress. The comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries has continued to develop in-depth. During these years under the Prayut government, the development of China-Thailand relations has entered a new stage. Looking forward to the future, China and Thailand have great potential for cooperation in various fields, and the prospects for cooperation are also very broad. These cooperation potentials provide a broad development space for strengthening the cooperative relationship between China and Thailand, thus making it possible to establish a sustainable and stable friendly cooperative relationship between Thailand and China.

(1) Political cooperation between China and Thailand will move forward steadily

The political relationship between China and Thailand has experienced many ups and downs, but the general trend is to keep moving forward. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Thailand, the two countries have maintained normalized political relations. During Prayut's administration, the cooperation between the two countries in the political field accelerated. Although affected by the new crown epidemic, the long-term friendly China-Thailand relations will not change. On the one hand, the Thai government, which has been hit hard by the tourism economy, will bear the brunt of economic development after effectively controlling the epidemic. As the tourism industry is a pillar industry in Thailand, the contribution of Chinese tourists to Thailand’s tourism revenue accounts for more than 25% of Thailand’s total tourism revenue. The educational government will definitely maintain good relations with the Chinese government. On the other hand, after China and Thailand issued the "Joint Press Statement" in 2019, many projects of "China-Thailand High-speed Railway" and "Eastern Economic Corridor of Thailand" are being gradually implemented, which is related to the two countries. The major interests of the people; third, the special friendship between the two countries. "China and Thailand are one family" is fully demonstrated in this epidemic cooperation. After the baptism of the epidemic, China-Thailand relations have become more intimate and unbreakable. Therefore, the political friendly relations between China and Thailand will continue to advance.

(2) China-Thailand trade will usher in new opportunities after the epidemic

Although affected by the new crown pneumonia epidemic in 2020, the trade volume between China and Thailand still reached 98.63 billion US dollars. On the one hand, the epidemic situation in China is well controlled, and the economy maintains continuous growth. The import demand for Thai goods will not decrease, and the Thai government is also actively reducing taxes and fees to encourage exports. In the post-epidemic era, Chinese and Thai enterprises will usher in new opportunities in the field of service trade. Service trade is a sunrise industry for both China and Thailand. The trade between China and Thailand in transportation, finance, telecommunications, culture and entertainment will continue to grow. In the era of the epidemic, the fields of e-commerce, online payment, and online teaching between the two countries will usher in a new space for cooperation. The cooperation between China and Thailand in the field of e-commerce will be strengthened, and the consumption preferences of Thai consumers will change. Payment will be rapidly popularized, online interactivity will become stronger, and cross-border e-commerce will usher in the spring. With the steady progress of "One Belt, One Road" and "China-Thailand High-speed Railway", the new energy industry, cross-border logistics, and e-commerce supply chain industries will usher in more development opportunities. In addition, in January 2021, the People's Bank of China and the Bank of Thailand renewed the bilateral local currency swap agreement, expanding a new space for win-win results, and the two sides' economic and trade cooperation will reach a new level.   

(3) After the epidemic, China-Thailand investment will "increase steadily"

With the two-way alignment of the "Belt and Road" strategy with "Thailand 4.0", "Aogang-Guangdong Greater Bay Area" and "Eastern Thailand Economic Corridor", the cooperation and investment between China and Thailand in infrastructure construction will continue to increase. It will release a lot of investment opportunities for related industries, and it is bound to promote Sino-Thai investment and economic and trade development.

The favorable policies of the Thai government for real estate investment, the continuous improvement of infrastructure, the rising exchange rate of the Thai baht against the US dollar, the stability of the Thai economy, and the attractiveness to investors, the Thai real estate market is very likely to come out of the trough after the epidemic is under control.

(4) The recovery of Thailands tourism economy after the epidemic is more dependent on the Chinese tourist market

On September 3, 2021, a seminar on "China-Thailand Service Trade Cooperation under the Framework of the RCEP Agreement" was held at the Beijing National Convention Center. A number of Thai institutions and business delegations participated in the seminar. Mr. Benjamin, Minister of the Thai Embassy in China, said that China has always been Thailand's largest trading partner, and the implementation of the RCEP agreement will surely provide a strong impetus for the development of service trade between China and Thailand. "During the difficult times of the global economy, countries need to keep trade and investment open, and maintain the smooth flow of supply chains." In this regard, the Chinese government's approach has set a good example for other countries. Qi Yawen, Commercial Minister of the Thai Embassy in China, pointed out that the RCEP agreement will promote the improvement of the business environment of Thailand and other trading partner countries, attract more foreign investment, help RCEP member countries realize the potential of economic growth, and meet future economic challenges. To enhance the well-being of the people of the member states, the economic and trade exchanges and cooperation between China and Thailand under the framework of the RCEP agreement will surely reach a new level.

(5) China-Thailand cultural and educational exchanges will show new forms

The cultural friendship between China and Thailand has a long history, and the educational cooperation between China and Thailand is also deepening. However, due to the impact of the global epidemic, offline communication has been unable to meet the urgent desire of the two peoples. The educational and cultural exchanges between China and Thailand will take on a new form with the rapid development of mobile networks. The transformation of exchanges into "online" exchanges or a combination of "online and offline" exchanges will enhance the cooperation between the two countries' streaming media in cultural dissemination and stimulate the development of the streaming media industry. etc. Will be exported and disseminated through platforms such as Douyin, Toutiao, Mekong River Magazine, and Chinese-Thai bilingual magazines; Sino-Thai cultural friendship activities and conferences will also be carried out through cloud platforms; Sino-Thai educational cooperation includes seminars, academic education, Seminars and conferences will also continue to be carried out through "online education", and even admissions for further studies will be conducted through online assessments and interviews.

Looking into the future, the foundation of political mutual trust between Thailand and China will be more solid, the all-round strategic cooperation will move forward steadily, and the long-term friendly relationship between Thailand and China will not be easily changed.

(Yin Yan-E, is a candidate, Research Assistant at Institute for South Asian Studies, Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences and Yunnan Indian ocean research institute. PhD Student, Thai study program, the faculty of humanities and social sciences, Burapha University, Thailand, and Lu Junyu is a graduate student, School of Government, Yunnan University.)