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Former Thai deputy PM: China and Thailand will always be a family

By Feng Minghui and Gu Xin | | Updated: 2019-09-24 09:22
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Former Deputy Prime Minister and President of Thai-Chinese Cultural Relationship Council Pinit Jarusombat (left) poses for a photo with Zhang Yong, Deputy Director-General of the Cyberspace Administration of China's News and Communications Bureau in Bangkok, Thailand on Sept 19. [Photo by Feng Minghui/China Daily]

China is about to celebrate its 70th birthday. As the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China approaches, former Deputy Prime Minister and President of Thai-Chinese Cultural Relationship Council Pinit Jarusombat expressed his views on the China-Thailand relationship, changes China has gone through over the past 70 years and what he foresees for the two countries as he sat down for an interview with China Daily Webiste on Sept 19 in Bangkok, Thailand.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. What do you think of the development of China over the past 70 years?

This year marks the 70th anniversary since the founding of the People's Republic of China. It is a very significant and valuable year, as China has made great progress in many areas.

The Chinese government never just talks the talk, it is all about results. The Chinese government has lifted many of its citizens out of poverty already, and has set a goal to completely eliminate poverty before 2020. When the standard of living is elevated and people do not have to worry about food security, the quality of education and social order will all improve accordingly and the nation made stronger in return. We do not see people littering on the streets in China. The high-speed trains are very advanced and run across the country. The world is receiving more and more Chinese tourists, and Chinese merchants are doing business all over the world. The purchasing power of Chinese citizens skyrocketed in the past seven decades. These are all thanks to the rise in living conditions and level of education.

What do you think China's growth has brought to Asia and neighboring countries? And what are challenges and opportunities for the future?

China is a strong country, but has not forgotten to help those in need. China has lent a helping hand to friends in Africa, South America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. I think we can say China is strong and generous to her neighbors.

In your opinion, what could cultural and humanitarian exchanges, as well as people-to-people exchanges, do to help promoting ties between two countries?

Cultural exchanges between China and Thailand are very significant and mutually beneficial. We have many similarities, in culture, art, food and traditions. China and Thailand have always maintained a close relationship, and that dates back to before the founding of New China. Tens of thousands, sometimes more than one hundred thousand Thais return to China to pay respects to their ancestors each year. Furthermore, Thailand probably witnesses the biggest Spring Festival celebration in scale outside of China.

Many Thais are taking the opportunity to learn Chinese. Our council has obtained a designated scholarship from the Chinese government to provide opportunities for civil servants to study in China. We received 106 applications and chose 30 finalists. More and more Chinese visitors are choosing Thailand as their travel destination -- we receive 10 million strong annually -- hence the increased importance of knowing Chinese. Officials at immigration find it helpful to know some Chinese. Private enterprises, hotels and restaurants also need staff that can speak Chinese so they can communicate with Chinese customers. Enthusiasm for learning Chinese in Thailand is growing rapidly. Many would say it is impossible to do business without knowing Chinese.

We also cooperate in the field of art, as many of our art troupes and artists cooperate with one another. I myself often lead a delegation to its counterparts in Shanghai and Beijing.

China has always emphasized sharing. The Belt and Road Initiative is designed to share the fruit of development with people of the world, help one another in times of need, cut back differences and eliminate conflict. With this backdrop, there will be more chances for exchange, and in my opinion this is the most noble form of culture.

Do you have any comments for China and the Chinese people on the 70th anniversary?

I hope China and Thailand can stand next to each other and develop hand-in-hand. I also hope the two countries can continue to have sincere dialogues and maintain a friendship as close as brothers. It has always been like this in the past.

This is an important year. I wish for continued prosperity for China, and happiness and health for the Chinese people and Chinese leaders. Lastly I hope China can continue to remain in close friendship with Thailand, as well as Southeast Asian countries. China and Thailand will always be a family. Happy birthday!

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