THAILAND and China marked 40 years of diplomatic ties with a reception on Wednesday and pledged to deepen bilateral relations in the future.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said he hoped the ties would "last forever". He was among the guests at a reception hosted by the Chinese Embassy to mark the 40th anniversary of Sino-Thai diplomatic relations.
Both sides pledged to contribute to deepening ties for the next 40 years. In his statement, Prayut said that both countries enjoyed cordial relations at all levels.
"For 40 years, China and Thailand's diplomatic relations have enjoyed a great leap forward. Relations between the two countries range from the level of the Royal family, government to government and the business sector to [respective] civil societies travelling between the two countries … the governments of the two countries have regularly exchanged visits," Prayut said.
Thailand and China have developed closer ties since the establishment of their formal relations in 1975. Those areas of co-operation include China's investments in Thai railway infrastructure and agricultural products and co-operation in the financial and banking sectors.
Wednesday's reception was attended by many personalities, including people who were involved in key policy decisions regarding Sino-Thai relations such as Tej Bunnag, former foreign minister and veteran diplomat, and Surakiart Sathirathai, chairman of the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council and a former foreign minister.
This is not to forget key figures of the current government including Deputy PPMand Foreign Minister General Thanasak Patimapragorn and Energy Minister Narongchai Akrasanee.
Before starting his speech, the premier teased the Chinese interpreter by saying: "It happens that I make comments and speak out of the box." This sparked laughter from the crowd, making the ambience even more cordial.
"We've had 40 years of close ties. It would be difficult to keep the speech short," he said, and concluded his speech by saying: "I would like to extend the goodwill of this relationship to other friends worldwide. May this relationship enjoy ever closer and stable ties and may it last forever."
The premier then raised a toast with China's Ambassador to Thailand Ning Fukui.