Li's visit to boost Thailand-China tiesUpdated: 2013-10-12 18:15
BANGKOK - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Thailand remarkably paved the way for a boost in bilateral ties in coming days, Thai legislators commented on Saturday.
Democrat Party deputy leader Alongkorn Ponlabut told Xinhua he was pleased with the premier's speech, delivered to the Thai legislature on Friday, which, he said, obviously underscored Beijing's intention to promote and expand Sino-Thai relations in varied areas, though particularly in trade and investment.
"The Chinese premier's visit to Thailand is making a significant success in strengthening Sino-Thai relationships in varied areas, especially in trade, investment and technological transfers. Li's visit is a big step toward a new era of bilateral ties," said Alongkorn, who has visited China on several occasions.
He said Thailand and China will undoubtedly maintain and promote regional comprehensive economic partnership alongside the other member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEN).
He also said the two countries could join hands to expand investment ventures in logistics and energy sectors in Southeast Asia.
"Thai legislators are obviously pleased with Li's speech, in which he spoke Thai to show Thais and Chinese are brothers. Such fraternity between the two peoples will continue to be an everlasting, solid relationship," he said.
Thai lawmakers applauded Li during his 40-minute speech, and unanimously approved an MOU on a multilateral agreement for the opening of border checkpoints in northern Thailand, Laos and southern China to streamline the transporting of cargo and the shuttling of tourists between the three countries.
Alongkorn said he agreed with President of Thai parliament Somsak Kitasuranont that China should build a four-lane road linking Mohan Port in China's Kunming city with Chiang Khong district in northern Thailand, through Houayxay and Boten in Laos.
He said the current road running through mountainous regions would not fare well during rainy seasons, especially as cargo-laden trucks will mostly be heavy-duty vehicles.
Pheu Thai Party MP Pichet Chuamuangpan said he found Li's speech at the Thai parliament very impressive and considered his visit to Bangkok an important step to further promote Thailand-China economic and trade relations.
He called on the Thai and Chinese authorities to approve visa exemption for regular passport holders of each quickly, in a bid to promote the tourist industry of both.
In addition, the legislator who represents Chiang Khong district suggested that signs throughout the border district be written in Chinese as well as Thai to aid Chinese tourists.
Meanwhile, Senator Narumol Sirivat said she found Li to be an "eloquent and inspiring" speaker and that it was a great honor for the parliament to receive a top leader from China.
"He was funny when he said toward the end of his speech that he was not wooing votes from us but was speaking for the sake of the shared interests of Thailand and China. He made gestures and smiled during his speech which was quite impressive," said the senator.
Narumol said China could not only have access to the Southeast Asian region, but to South Asia or the Indian Ocean by way of the so-called North-South Economic Corridor.
She suggested that China buy more rice and rubber from Thailand -- two of the country's major export-bound agricultural goods.
Li arrived here Friday for an official visit to Thailand, the second leg of his maiden trip to Southeast Asia since he took office in March.
He has just wrapped up a visit to Brunei, where he also attended a series of meetings with East Asian leaders.