ASEAN-China ties help ease regional security concerns

Updated: 2013-10-08 21:54
( Xinhua)

BANGKOK -- Regional security concerns over territorial disputes in the South China Sea might be alleviated or even resolved if economic partnership between ASEAN and China are practically upgraded, said a Thai expert on Tuesday.

Though territorial dispute exists between China and some ASEAN member states in the South China Sea, the ASEAN-China economic relations, especially ASEAN-China free trade area, was promoted as planned, said Swai Visavanant with Chulalongkorn University's Institute of Asian Studies.

"While regional security matters, particularly regarding the South China Sea, need to be finally resolved for the sake of regional peace, the economic partnerships between the ASEAN member states and China are no less significant," Swai said.

While Thailand has by no means been involved in the maritime disputes in the South China Sea, such security matters are considered "very sensitive" to international relationship not only between Thailand and China but between Thailand and fellow ASEAN countries, which are scheduled to become an ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, he said.

Nonetheless, the Thai government and private sector might be interested in offering investment or joint venture to develop the South China Sea where resources are said to be rich, he said.

Thailand, which has technology and personnel capable of oil and natural gas exploration and production, either onshore or offshore, could contribute to the development of the South China Sea, he said.

Swai said that bilateral trade and investment between Thailand and China are expected to grow in volume and value given the plan of the government to turn Thailand into a regional hub for interconnectivity, including the construction of high-speed railway to link southern China with the Thai northeastern region through Laos.

According to Swai, China is likely to become a major market for a variety of Thai export goods in place of European countries and the United States.

"While economic downturn in Europe and the US remain, Thailand may turn to a potentially huge export market in China, which is geographically in the neighborhood of this country," he said.



Li to attend East Asia leaders meetings

Premier Li Keqiang is to attend the East Asia leaders meetings and pay an official visit to Brunei, Thailand and Vietnam from Oct 9 to 15.


Li plans to seek deeper trust with neighbors

CAEXPO: A tour of Southeast Asia

Chinese premier eyes closer ties with ASEAN

Premier Li delivers keynote speech

Premier stresses transformation of the economy

Premier Li meets entrepreneurs, answers questions