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Hand in hand toward a better future

Updated: 2013-10-11 23:32
( China Daily)

Hand in hand toward a better future

Premier Li Keqiang waves upon arriving at Bangkok International Airport on Friday. He is visiting Thailand from Friday to Sunday. Chaiwat Subprasom / Reuters

Editor's note: Premier Li Keqiang started a three-day official visit to Thailand on Friday. Here we reprint an article he wrote for Thai media ahead of his arrival.

Thailand, a beautiful and fascinating country, is known to the world for its captivating landscape, abundant resources and splendid culture. The Thai people lead a life of prosperity. I am coming to Thailand again soon, long after my last trip here, to pay an official visit to this friendly neighbor of China. I wish to convey the warm greetings and best wishes of the Chinese people to our friends in Thailand. I am full of expectations for this visit, and I sincerely hope that the visit will give a strong boost to the traditional China-Thailand friendship and start another brilliant chapter of amity and cooperation between our two countries in a new era.

China and Thailand have been good brothers since ancient times. Back in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), King Ramkhamhaeng the Great invited hundreds of Chinese craftsmen to teach ceramic techniques in Sukhothai and Phitsanulok. By working together, the Chinese and local craftsmen created the exquisite and unique Sangkhalok porcelain, whose beauty has been well preserved until this day. In the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Ayutthaya Kingdom sent more than 100 delegations to China. Its students even studied at China's Imperial College. Chinese and Thai scholars jointly compiled the early version of the Chinese-Thai dictionary entitled Translations of Siamese. The original copy of the dictionary is still kept at a library in Beijing. On his voyages to the western seas, Chinese navigator Zheng He led his ships northwards along the Chao Phraya River and reached today's Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province. He brought along to the local people the Chinese calendar and measuring and weighing instruments, as well as agricultural techniques such as the production of solar salt, well-digging and terracing. And he took back home the spices, pepper, paddy rice and fine fruit tree seeds of Thailand. Through those long centuries of exchanges a deep friendship was formed. The ever-growing mutual understanding and goodwill between the two peoples has laid a solid foundation for the sound and steady growth of China-Thailand relations.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the people of China and Thailand have worked closely together and supported each other in times of adversity. Together we tackled the Asian financial crisis and the international financial crisis, upholding economic stability in both our countries and the region at large. Together we fought against the SARS epidemic and bird flu, protecting the health of the people of both countries. Together we prevailed over the Indian Ocean tsunamis, earthquakes in China, severe floods in Thailand and other natural disasters, allowing life and work to quickly return to normal in disaster-hit areas.

A storm will be followed by a rainbow. Our bilateral cooperation has expanded rapidly and produced fruitful results across the board. China has become Thailand's biggest source of tourists and its largest export market. Thailand is China's largest source of natural rubber. Among Southeast Asian countries, Thailand was the first to conduct strategic cooperation with China, the first to implement a zero-tariff arrangement on vegetables and fruit within the framework of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, the first to complete a China Culture Center and the first to receive a pair of giant pandas for cooperative scientific research. In fact, the pandas living in Chiang Mai have now even got a baby panda named Lin Bing. Thailand is on track to becoming the country with the largest number of consulates general in China.

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