Premier Zhu Rongji Met with Thai Prime Minister (12/04/2002)

On the afternoon of April 12, 2002, Premier Zhu Rongji met with Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who came to attend the first annual conference of Boao Forum for Asia, at Boao, Hainan Province.

Zhu said that Thaksin is the first foreign head of state to show his willingness to attend the BFA and thanked him for his support. Last year he and Thaksin exchanged visits and reached consensus on further extending trade and economic cooperation. Thanks to the efforts of the two sides, the results of the visits have been implemented and Sino-Thai friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation has seen sustained progress.

Thaksin said that the Thai government and he himself value unity and cooperation with Asian countries, believing that Asia should have its due status across the world. To this end, Thailand has proposed the "Asia Cooperation Dialogue". While praising China for its responsible attitude in playing a vital role in Asia, Thaksin said Thailand supports the early establishment of the ASEAN-China free trade zone and expects more cooperation between Thailand and China in this regard.

Zhu said that the proposal is positive and in a correct direction. China is willing to join Thailand to make concerted efforts for the cooperation and prosperity of Asia. He said  that Asian countries are famous for their diversity and each area is comparatively independent from the others. Therefore, cooperation among Asian countries should be developed in easy-to-difficult steps on the basis of reaching comprehensive consensus.

On China-ASEAN free trade zone, Zhu said that he reached consensus with the leaders of ASEAN members, including Thaksin, last November on the establishment of the zone and this is a major event between China and ASEAN. He thinks the key to the establishment of the China-ASEAN free trade zone is to grasp opportunities and keep the momentum to start negotiations as soon as possible. China is willing to further strengthen coordination and cooperation with Thailand in this regard.

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