Vietnam-Thailand: 45 Years of Cooperation
|Ambassador Nguyen Tat Thanh welcomed Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to visit the Vietnamese Embassy on May 28, 2016. Photo: WVR|
Nguyen Tat Thanh, when leaving for Bangkok to receive the assignment as Vietnam Ambassador to Thailand in 2014, knew that he had two advantages. Firstly, on the occasion of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong's visit to Thailand (June 2013), Vietnam-Thailand relations have just been upgraded to a strategic partnership. Second, 2016 will mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations, an important milestone in the relationship between the two countries.
When he arrived, he gradually realized that he had more advantages than that. The following three stories told by the Ambassador will show how good the Vietnam-Thailand relationship is.
The affection of the Thai Royal Family
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is an erudite, witty and respected by the Thai people, regarded as the "national princess". I personally witnessed her fluent in many languages, passionate about reading, drawing, playing the piano, taking pictures and collecting stamps.
When I went to greet the Princess in 2015, I invited her to visit the embassy.
On May 28, 2016, Princess Sirindorn visited the embassy and was welcomed by both the agency and a large number of overseas Vietnamese. This is the first time a member of the Thai Royal Family has visited the Vietnamese Embassy.
When visiting the stamp exhibition, she was surprised to see that the Marshall Islands, an island nation that was once mandated by the US, issued a postage stamp about President Ho Chi Minh. The stamp has both deep cultural and political significance, she said.
After the visit, Princess Sirindorn promoted better relations between Thailand and Vietnam. She allowed Vietnamese nameplates to be attached to temples, so that these temples were often visited by Vietnamese people and tourists. Also, later on, more members of the Thai Royal Family visit Vietnamese temples.
|Vietnam and Thailand officially established diplomatic relations on August 6, 1976. This year, the two countries celebrate 45 years of Vietnam-Thailand relations.|
|Ambassador Nguyen Tat Thanh and Thailand Minister of Foreign Affairs Vitavas Srivihok exchange a set of joint stamps between the two countries on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Vietnam-Thailand relations, August 5, 2016. Photo: WVR|
Learning from useful models
Determining that economic cooperation is the future of the two countries' relations, I always talk to Thailand businesses and learn from their experiences.
During a visit to Chieng Rai province, I was introduced to the Sufficiency Economic Philosophy (SEP) model of the late Thai King Bhumibol Aduljadej (Rama IX). The SEP model has three purposes: bringing a prosperous life to the people, preserving the rich cultures of ethnic groups and protecting the environment sustainably.
With the support of the Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the first SEP project was implemented in Thai Nguyen. This is also considered as a typical project for the solidarity between Vietnam and Thailand.
Hopefully in the future, the SEP project will be replicated to many provinces and cities, so that Thailand's smart development experience can bring a prosperous life to Vietnamese people.
The relationship "never been as good as it is now"
During my tenure, the Thai army came to power. At that time, Army General Tanasak Patimapragorn was appointed Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand.
I was the first foreign ambassador to greet him right after the coup, when he was still the commander of the army.
When turning to foreign affairs, Tanasak paid special attention to Vietnam. He attended the embassy's annual National Day celebration, visited Vietnam five times, and directed the two countries to sign a labor cooperation agreement on the occasion of the 2015 joint Cabinet meeting.
Before the end of his term, Deputy Prime Minister Tanasak told me: "The relationship between the two countries has never been as good as it is now."
|Ambassador Nguyen Tat Thanh greets Commander Tanasak Patimapragorn on June 3, 2014. Photo: WVR|
Since then, two countries' relations have continued new developments. Overseas Vietnamese are attached to the country, and the relations between localities become practical. The two countries have successfully coordinated to organize ASEAN conferences in Thailand in 2019, and in Vietnam in 2020.
In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, trade and investment relations continued to grow. Thailand and Vietnam organized many meaningful activities to celebrate 45 years of diplomatic relations (August 6, 1976 - August 6, 2021). The results of bilateral cooperation are thanks to two countries' similarities, political trust, close economic connectivity and people-to-people exchanges to be more deepened.
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