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|Friday, May 18, 2001, updated at 20:00(GMT+8)|
Thai-Chinese Ties "Beyond Normal": Thai PMAs the majority of Thai people is of Chinese origin, the relationship between Thailand and China is already "beyond normal," and the Thai-Chinese friendship and cooperation will be passed on to future generations, Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said here Friday.
"It is just a matter of how to further develop our relationship for our mutual benefits. That is the prospect for the future," the premier said during an interview with the Chinese official media based in Thailand on the eve of Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji's official visit to the country between May 19 and 22.
"As time goes by, we (both countries) will have more and more relationships not just in terms of politics, but also including economy and trade," said Thaksin, who, according to himself, is the fourth generation from his father's side and third generation from his mother's side of immigrants from China.
Asked about the significance of Zhu's incoming visit, he said, "we appreciate the visit of His Excellency Zhu Rongji, which is the first time that he officially visits Thailand as the Chinese premier."
He also recalled that three yeas ago, Chinese President Jiang Zemin paid a landmark state visit to Thailand as the guest of the King of Thailand.
"I am looking forward to welcoming him. And we will also have discussions both in formal and personal contacts. I will invite him to have a personal retreat at my resort house in Hua Hin, after having an audience with the King. We are looking forward to discussing cooperation between the two countries," said the Thai leader.
As for the question that how he considers the worries of some people in Southeast Asia that China's entry into the World Trade Organization may threat their countries economically, Thaksin said he didn't worry at all.
"You know the world is getting more and more dynamic in itself, so every country will have to adapt themselves (to the world). So don't worry about other countries, but to ask ourselves how fast we can adapt to the changing world," he said.
"If we can adapt to the world well, there is no threat which have to be worried about, and we will see more opportunities than threats," the premier elaborated, "for example, if you look at Singapore, it adapts itself (to the world) all the time. So it can face much of the hardship in its economy."
"In the past, we (Thailand) are quite slow for change, and now since we are in the era of change, we are reforming almost every aspect, and are ready to collaborate and compete with any other country, which is a normal scene in this free era," said the premier.
On the Chinese government's "one country, two systems" policy, the premier said, "it proved very successful with Hong Kong. And the prosperity of Hong Kong, the confidence in Hong Kong, are still continued after its return to China. This is proved to the world so that they (the world) will accept, respect and be confident in the 'one country, two systems' policy. "
On the human rights issue, he said, "Thailand proved its stand already that we voted for China (at the world human rights conference). So it means that we understand and support the efforts of China to improve the condition of human rights and vitalize its economy."
Delivering his good wishes to the 1.3 billion Chinese people, the premier said, "I would like the bilateral linkage of our heritage to carry on for generations."
"Because we have the roots and origin of the same place and same ancestors, I would like the Thai-Chinese relations close and cordial, and the relations must go deep into generations, not just government-to-government relations, " he stressed.
"Although my generation still remembers roots of our origin, the next generation may not recognize that. So I would like our relation in more generations, not just in our generation. It is very important for our generation in both countries to pass the good relations to the next generations," said the Thai leader.
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