- POSTED: 11 Oct 2013 20:58
- UPDATED: 11 Oct 2013 22:50
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China and Thailand will begin preliminary talks on tourist visa exemptions for citizens of both counties. This makes Thailand the first country China will try to broker this type of arrangement with.
BANGKOK: China and Thailand will begin preliminary talks on tourist visa exemptions for citizens of both counties.
This makes Thailand the first country China will try to broker this type of arrangement with.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Thailand marks the strengthening of ties between the two nations.
China is Thailand largest trading partner, with bilateral trade totalling US$70 billion last year. Furthermore, Chinese tourists have become the largest group of foreign visitors in Thailand.
Premier Li's visit will include the signing of various Memoranda of Understanding and a request from Thailand for China's support of their bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2017.
Mr Li is scheduled to visit Chiang Mai in order to strengthen cultural ties and enhance ASEAN overland connectivity, in particular high-speed railways.
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said: "On the issue of regional connectivity, China has expressed interest in developing Thailand's high-speed rail system.
"We welcome this cooperation at the government level, and in return, we would like to barter with China with our agricultural products. Both sides will discuss this matter in details further, at various levels."
At a news conference at the Government House, Mr Li reiterated China's support for Thailand, and ASEAN in general.
China and ASEAN are working towards a free trade agreement by 2015, which could boost bilateral trade to US$500 million.
Meanwhile, the absence of US leaders -- notably that of President Barack Obama -- at APEC and the East Asia Summit, has created an opening for China to be more influential in this region, especially when it comes to the conflict in the South China Sea.
Analysts have said that China's influence could overshadow that of the US in the near future.