by Surasak Tumcharoen
BANGKOK, March 6 (Xinhua) -- The relationship between Thailand and China is bound to expand in the future as both countries have a shared goal of contributing to the peace and prosperity throughout the Southeast Asian region, according to a senior Thai legislator.
In an interview with Xinhua, Kusumalvati Sirikomut, vice chairwoman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, said that both Thailand and China are committed to playing a significant role in the making of a stable, prosperous ASEAN bloc, which is scheduled to become an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
"Given the time-honored, close and cordial Thai-Chinese relationship, Thailand could probably play a leading role for the regional bloc with the help from China, particularly in international trade, economic and investment cooperation that would be carried out in the future, beginning with the establishment of the AEC in the next two years," Kasumalvati said. China, now the world's second largest economy, is one of the important dialogue partners of ASEAN.
China has robust trade relations not only with Thailand but with the other nine member countries of ASEAN.
The Thai woman lawmaker said China's increased role on regional agenda could considerably balance that of the United States and be compatible with Thailand's plans to promote strategic partnerships with other countries throughout the region.
"On our part, as representatives of the Thai people, we would like to help strengthen the Thai-Chinese ties. In fact, we plan to pay an official visit to China sometime this year," said Kusumalvati, referring to her House Foreign Relations Committee.
She added that China's Communist Party had already invited leading members of Thailand's ruling Puea Thai Party led by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to visit China. Kasumalvati is also a member of the Puea Thai Party.
"The House Foreign Relations Committee would arrange schedules for a visit to China and meet with the high-level Chinese leadership so that we could exchange views on a wide range of regional issues and find out how the Chinese could play a significant part in the region," Kasumalvati said.