Deepening Vietnam-Thailand strategic partnership
Today on the 17th of August the Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his wife, along with a delegation consisting of senior Vietnamese officials, will begin an official visit to the Kingdom of Thailand at the invitation of the hosts’ Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc meets with his Thai counterpart Prayuth Chan-ocha on the sideline of an ASEAN high-level meeting in Manila, the Philippines, late April. (Credit: VOV)
This is the first official visit to the "the Land of Golden Temples" by Nguyen Xuan Phuc as the Vietnamese Prime Minister. The visit is taking place in the context of traditional friendship and strategic partnership between Vietnam and Thailand as both sides continue to witness positive growth.
Located in Southeast Asia, the Kingdom of Thailand has an area of 513,120 km2 and a population of over 68.2 million, of which about 95% of the population follows the Buddhist faith. Under the reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in the past and now succeeded by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the Kingdom of Thailand has been growing constantly with stable political and socio-economic situation.
On April 6, King Maha Vajiralongkorn ratified a new Constitution, paving the way for a general election by the end of 2018. The Thai economy has shown signs of recovery with GDP growth of 3.2% in 2016 and is expected to reach 3.5% this year. "The Land of Smiles" is one of the leading nations in Southeast Asia, with a per capita income of US$5,938 in 2016. The government headed by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is accelerating implementation of the Thailand 4.0 Strategy, the five-year economic development plan for 2017-2021 and the 20-year national development strategy.
Regarding external relations, Thailand places importance on its relations with neighbouring countries, enhancing the building and cooperation with ASEAN countries, while promoting and balancing relations with major countries, and playing an active role in an increasingly-promoted position in multilateral and regional forums.
Vietnam and Thailand are two friendly neighbours with a similar culture and longstanding relationship, formally establishing bilateral diplomatic ties in 1976. The two active members of the “ASEAN Common House” share many common interests. The relationship between the two countries has entered a new stage of development since the two sides upgraded their bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership in June 2013, during the official visit to the Kingdom of Thailand by Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.
Since then, the relationship between the two nations has become increasingly close. In July 2015, at the third joint governmental meeting, the two sides elevated their relationship into a strengthened strategic partnership, creating the momentum for bilateral cooperation to be expanded, thus making it easier to meet the interests of the their people.
Political relations are well maintained as the two sides regularly host delegation exchanges and contact at high and local levels. Cooperation in the fields of economics, trade and investment have been increasingly effective. Bilateral trade growth has increased sharply, in 2016 reaching US$12.5 billion, up 8.9% over 2015. In the first six months of this year, the figure reached nearly US$7 billion, an increase of 22.5% over the same period in 2016. The two countries successfully organised the second meeting of the Joint Commission on Bilateral Trade in July 2015 and set the goal of raising the two-way trade turnover to US$20 billion by 2020.
In terms of investment, Thailand is currently the 10th largest investor among 116 countries and territories who are currently investing in Vietnam, with 458 direct investment projects in force, with a total registered capital of nearly US$8.2 billion. Cooperation between the two countries in other fields such as security, national defence, culture, sports, tourism, labour, transport, agriculture, forestry, and fisheries have also recorded positive results. Local level cooperation takes place with a range of dynamic activities. Vietnam and Thailand cooperate well in regional and international forums, especially within ASEAN and the United Nations.
During the official visit to Thailand by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, leaders of the two countries will jointly assess the bilateral cooperation in the recent years, while exchanging major orientations and discussing measures to further promote the strategic partnership between the two countries towards more widely and effectively develop in the coming time, as well as exchanging several international and regional issues of mutual concern.
Wishing Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc's official visit to the Kingdom of Thailand a great success, contributing to a deeper strategic partnership between Vietnam and Thailand, meeting the aspirations of the two peoples and contributing to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world./.