Xi confident of boost to China-ASEAN ties

Xi confident of boost to China-ASEAN ties

Beijing on Sunday called on Bangkok, the current cordinator between China and ASEAN, to play a positive role in deepening trust and cooperation between China and ASEAN as President Xi Jinping met Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on the sidelines of the APEC summit.

ASEAN has a coordination mechanism with major countries outside the organisation and Thailand replaced Vietnam as the coordinator between China and ASEAN in 2012. It will perform the role until 2015.

"China-Thailand ties are an example for China-ASEAN ties,'' Xi told Yingluck.

"I am confident Thailand will fully play its role as China-ASEAN coordinator to push forward China-ASEAN trust and cooperation."

Xi said China attaches great importance to ties with Thailand, a key partner in the region.

The countries have solid political and economic links and enjoy "huge potential for further cooperation'', Xi said.

Underscoring cooperation in high-speed rail development and water conservancy, Xi said these projects should be advanced as pilot programs as they concern connectivity and livelihoods and can be examples of China-Thailand friendship.

Yingluck spoke highly of the role China plays in the economic development of her country and other ASEAN members.

Thailand agreed on the basic principles China sets for China-ASEAN ties and will work together with China to boost cooperation and maintain peace and stability in the region, Yingluck said.

Thailand supports China's proposal to establish an investment bank to boost infrastructure construction in Asia, she added.

Zhang Yunling, a researcher on ASEAN studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said "as a key player and founder of ASEAN," Thailand sees the big picture and the general interests of the region.

Thailand has no disputes with China, it is neutral as a coordinator between China and ASEAN, Zhang added.

According to Zhang, China's large market plays a vital role in the economic development of ASEAN.

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