(VNS) On the occassion of the 85th birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Viet Nam News presents an article written by the kingdom's ambassador, Anuson Chinvanno.On the 5th of December every year, the Thai people all over the world joyously celebrate the birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. This year marks his 85th birthday, and he is now the world's longest reigning monarch having been Thailand's Head of State since 1946. His Majesty's "reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese (Thai) people" is cherished in the hearts and minds of Thais.
|Thai Ambassador to Viet Nam Anuson Chinvanno
2012 also marks 36 years of formal diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. In Asia, 36 years, or three zodiacal cycles, is an important traditional milestone as it signifies maturity in an individual or a relationship. We can use this occasion to emphasise again our cordial relations and look forward to greater prosperity for the two nations and peoples.
Indeed, Thailand and Viet Nam have a lot to celebrate!
Our two countries have steadily strengthened all aspects of their co-operation, and the relationship was boosted further after Viet Nam hosted the second Joint Cabinet Retreat (JCR) in October this year. The two prime ministers, together with cabinet ministers, agreed to elevate relations to the level of "strategic partnership" which will create a new momentum for further progress and contribute to the socio-economic development, peace and stability of both countries and the region.
High-level visits will continue to play an important role. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has already visited Viet Nam twice in less than a year. In 2012, Thailand was honoured with the visits of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in May and Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan in June, while a number of cabinet ministers, parliamentary leaders, and commanders of the armed forces also exchanged visits. Currently, Thailand is preparing to host the official visit of National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung in the first week of December.
|Regal: Wat Phra Kao is one of the main tourist attractions in Bangkok. — Photos courtesy Thai Embassy
Having shared a strong will to forge ahead with ASEAN community building, the two prime ministers agreed to strengthen security co-operation to address the challenges that come with the integrated ASEAN while advancing its place in the region. Thailand, as the country co-ordinator for ASEAN-China relations, will work with Viet Nam and all other member states to promote the ASEAN-China partnership in all fields.
Economically, Thailand and Viet Nam are resolved to building a two-way trade volume of more than the US$8 billion achieved last year by expanding trade 20 per cent every year until 2015. During the past two decades, Thailand has invested in 292 projects worth over $6 billion making it the 10th biggest investor in Viet Nam.
The two have also agreed to enhance their work together in rice production and trade, and realise the full potential of the greater conductivity of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC), as well as other trade routes linking Nakhon Phanom with Vinh and Ha Tinh.
Culturally, there is also an important relationship between our two nations. The Northeastern region of Thailand can take pride in being one of the homes of President Ho Chi Minh during his fight for national Vietnamese independence, as well as a place that has welcomed tens of thousands of Thai people of Vietnamese descent who are thriving and contributing to the strong bond of friendship.
Furthermore, over 400,000 Vietnamese tourists travel to Thailand every year while 180,000 Thai visitors are making Viet Nam a travel destination of choice. Many Vietnamese people choose Thailand as a place to receive world-class health services. On the Embassy's part, we are proud to implement a youth exchange programme for the last four years which has enhanced understanding and familiarisation between the young generation of both nations.
Taking into account the fast approaching ASEAN Community, which will be launched in 2015, a number of Vietnamese students are now taking up Thai language courses at major universities in Ha Noi, HCM City, and Da Nang. In turn, Thai students are now increasingly eager to learn about other fellow ASEAN member states such as Viet Nam. In this regard, we welcome the plan to establish a Vietnamese Cultural Centre in Thailand in the future.
In conclusion, as neighbouring countries and regional partners, Thailand and Viet Nam are striving for the dynamic and forward-looking "strategic partnership" that would be mutually beneficial for the two nations, region and the world at large. — VNS