Thailand, Vietnam to embark on a new chapter of closer bilateral ties: Thai Ambassador | Politics

Thailand, Vietnam to embark on a new chapter of closer bilateral ties: Thai Ambassador hinh anh 1Thai Ambassador to Vietnam Nikorndej Balankura (Source: Thai Embassy in Vietnam)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam and Thailand enjoyed a fruitful partnership in 2023 with bustling exchanges in all fields, laying a firm foundation for the further expansion of their ties in the new year. On the occasion of the New Year of the Dragon, Thai Ambassador to Vietnam Nikorndej Balankura spoke to Vietnam News Agency about major achievements in the Vietnam-Thailand relations last year and prospects for 2024.

Reporter: How do you evaluate the progress of the Vietnam-Thailand strengthened strategic partnership in 2023, and prospects of bilateral ties in 2024? 

Ambassador Nikorndej Balankura: Last year, Thailand and Vietnam witnessed substantial progress in advancing their cordial and fruitful relations as the year 2023 also marked the 10th Anniversary of the establishment “Strategic Partnership” between Thailand and Vietnam. Both sides actively launched activities throughout the year in commemoration of the auspicious occasion.

One of the remarkable and successful events is the first Meet Thailand on August 3-4, 2023 in Quang Tri province. The event attracted approximately 500 participants from both Thailand and Vietnam, enhanced local-to-local economic opportunities, and increased Thai investors’ awareness of economic potential of Central Vietnam.

Moreover, both countries succeeded in maintaining exchanges of high-level visits. Following the tenure of office of Thailand’s new government, Vietnam, as a close friend and one of Thailand’s most strategic partners in the region, was designated for the first official visit of H.E. Mr. Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand during October 25-26, 2023. H.E. Mr. Vuong Dinh Hue, Chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam, paid an official visit to Thailand during December 7-10, 2023.  These visits indeed reflected both countries continued commitment to building trust and deepening it Strengthened Strategic Partnership.

The year 2024 will mark on a new chapter of bilateral relations. Both sides will join hands to elevate the status of our bilateral relations to “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership”. In this regards, Thailand and Vietnam will continue deepening political and diplomatic relations, strengthen mutual understanding, enhance political trust, set more ambitious goals of increasing two-way trade and investment, and intensify their efforts in strengthening subregional and regional frameworks, particularly, the Mekong River Commission (MRC), ACMECS, ASEAN. This will contribute to strengthen regional peace, stability, prosperity and beyond.

Reporter: In your opinion, what should the two countries do together to further bolster economic, trade and investment partnership, making it the sound bilateral political relations?

Ambassador Nikorndej Balankura:Thailand and Vietnam’s economic partnership is among the strongest within ASEAN. Thailand is Vietnam’s largest trading partner in ASEAN with the total trade volume of approximately 20 billion USD, and the 9th largest foreign investor in Vietnam with 735 projects valued 14 billion USD. I am convinced that there is ample room for a stronger economic partnership.

The two countries should create more conducive environment for the two-way trade to reach the joint trade target of 25 billion USD by 2025, or set an even more ambitious target, by reducing trade barriers and increasing the number of trade promotion activities. Both countries must also work to materialize the “Three Connects” Strategy, namely – supply chain connectivity, business exchanges at the local-to-local level, and linkages between Thailand’s Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG) and Vietnam’s green growth strategy. On that note, we should strengthen the network between ThaiCham in Vietnam and the newly established VietCham in Thailand, while promoting and facilitating investments in new areas, including digital economy, green economy, as well as hi-tech industries.

Particularly, Thai investors have great interest in investing in renewable energy projects in Vietnam, which can contribute to the country’s efforts to achieve the net zero target by 2050.

At the same time, Thailand welcomes more investments from the Vietnamese private sector, including the aviation and tourism sectors, as well as electric vehicle.

As major players in the Mekong sub-region with immense economic potentials, Thailand and Vietnam should look beyond bilateral economic cooperation and advance our economic partnership to new heights by creating integrated production and supply chain to accelerate growth and development in our region.

Thailand, Vietnam to embark on a new chapter of closer bilateral ties: Thai Ambassador hinh anh 2National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and other delegates cut the ribbon to launch the Vietnam Town in Udon Thani province, northeastern Thailand, on December 9, 2023 (Photo: VNA)

Reporter: Recently, the first Vietnam Town has been launched in Thailand’s Udon Thani province, showing the strong relations between the two peoples. How do you assess the meaning of the event, and what should be done to further promote people-to-people exchange between the two countries?

Ambassador Nikorndej Balankura: “Vietnam Town” was established in December 2023 during the visit of Vietnamese NA Chairman H.E. Mr. Vuong Dinh Hue in Udon Thani province, northeast Thailand. This is the first and only Vietnam town in the world, showing a strong connection between the two countries as well as friendship and bonds between locals and Thai people of Vietnam origin.

“Vietnam town” is not only the area of cultural exchanges between the two countries, but also an area of international attraction to entice worldwide tourists to experience Thai and Vietnamese cultural assimilation.

This is the pride that symbolises historically strong relations between Thailand and Vietnam. In 2024, both Governments should continue promoting and supporting the visit of international tourists to visit this Town and experience the cultural combination of the two countries. This reflects our strong bonds that Thailand and Vietnam are very close neighbour to the world.

The tourists will experience the rich cultures of our two nations and also get a chance to enjoy the authentic Vietnamese food cooked in Thailand. As for the upcoming Tet, I would like to urge and invite the Vietnamese tourists to visit Vietnam Town in Udonthani and experience the harmony of our two cultures. 

Thailand, Vietnam to embark on a new chapter of closer bilateral ties: Thai Ambassador hinh anh 3Visitors enjoy the Tet market at Hanoi’s Old Quarter (Photo: VNA)

Reporter: What are your impressions on the culture, people and nation of Vietnam during time here as the Thai Ambassador? What’s the message you would like to send to Vietnamese people for the New Year?

Ambassador Nikorndej Balankura:During my tenure, I’ve been very impressed with Vietnam’s achievement in all aspects. I also witness that Vietnamese people are very determined and hard working towards their goals.

In this connection, I would like to be part of and contribute to the fulfilment of those goals and dreams. For instance, it is my hope that through increased Thai investment, Thailand can play complimentary role in helping Vietnam become a Developed Country and achieve Net Zero by 2050. It is also my conviction that through close bilateral cooperation, Thailand and Vietnam will play a significant role in elevating the Mekong Subregion’s visibility in the global arena.

On the occasion of Tet, a year of the Dragon, which Thai people believe this is an auspicious year, I, along with my colleagues and staff members of the Embassy, would like to send our best wishes, may you and your family enjoy good health, joy and prosperity.

Reporter: Thank you very much!./.



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