by Zhu Li
BANGKOK, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- On the eve of the official visit by Wu Bangguo to Thailand, the Chinese ambassador on Saturday told Xinhua that this visit will deepen the long-time Sino-Thai friendship.
Guan Mu said Wu's visit, from Nov. 10 to 12, is of great importance since he will be the highest-ranking Chinese official who visits Thailand for the past seven years, and this also will be the first time for the past eight years that the chairman of the NPC Standing Committee visits the kingdom.
During his visit, Wu will meet his Thai counterpart Chai Chidchob, the Senate Speaker Prasobsuk Boondej, the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and other high-ranking officials, Guan said, adding that Wu will also attend the ceremony of cornerstone-laying for the Chinese Culture Center in Bangkok.
Besides, a series of bilateral economic and trade cooperation agreements are expected to be signed as well, said the Chinese Ambassador.
"The exchange between legislation institutes, as one of the major components for Sino-Thai cooperation and exchange, has a long history and has been contributing a lot to the lasting friendship between the governments as well as the peoples of the two countries," said Guan.
He mentioned that the House speaker Chai Chidchob visited China earlier this year, and Yan Junqi, Vice-chairwoman of the NPC Standing Committee, came to Bangkok in late March, attending the 122nd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union there. The special committees and friendship groups of the two countries' parliaments also maintain close cooperation and exchange at various levels and through various channels, which has yielded remarkable achievements.
"China and Thailand are neighbours with a long-time friendship. We have seen the effective cooperation and exchange between the two nations in many areas like politics, economy, culture, education, technology and military, as well as close coordination in regional and international affairs," Guan said.
To name a few, he said, the official establishment of the China- ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA) in January has provided fresh momentum for China-Thailand bilateral trade, with the volume registering a year-on-year increase of 44.5 percent in the first eight months of this year. And in the cultural sector, the ambassador listed the annual joint celebration, under the theme of "Happy Chinese New Year", across Thailand, and the "China and Thailand, kith and kin" concerts as "flagship" cultural events, which signal the cultural affinity of the two nations.
The Chinese language education is getting increasingly popular in Thailand, said Guan, adding that altogether more than 600,000 Thais either took or are taking Chinese language classes.
"Further extending and deepening the Sino-thai friendship is of the basic interests of the two countries," Guan said.