Thaksin, Jiang break bread
May 10, 2001
PRIME Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday held what were described
as "cordial and rewarding" talks with Chinese President Jiang
In a frank exchange of opinions, the two leaders preferred to focus on
the broad outlook and macro issues facing their two countries rather than
going into the fine details of bilateral relations, leaving those aspects
to Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji during his May 19 to 22 visit to Thailand.
Thai officials had earlier planned for the prime minister to discuss
bilateral relations, rice trade and cooperation on narcotics suppression
with the Chinese leader.
During the talks - held at the Harbour Plaza Hotel - Jiang waxed expansively
on East-West relations, saying it had become necessary for Asian countries
to accelerate their technologies and production to keep up with the West.
He repeated the message he delivered on Tuesday at the opening of the
Fortune Global Forum.
That speech focussed on the "unyielding struggle" of Asian
peoples over the course of the 20th century to win national independence
and liberation, get rid of poverty and backwardness, and bring about development
"We scored a remarkable achievement," he said. But the Chinese
leader was quick to add that without technological progress and productivity
growth, Asian countries would continue to lag behind the West in terms
of standards of living and geo-political status.
Thaksin reportedly described himself to Jiang as being part of a new
generation of leaders that understands technology. He said he was an engineer
himself and the two men spoke the same language.
"The atmosphere of the talks was very cordial. It's quite good that
we have an opportunity to build up the acquaintance," said Thaksin
after the meeting.
"Our relationship with China is very special and deep. In the eyes
of the Chinese leadership, Thailand is a very important country,"
said PM's Office Minister Pitak Intrawityanunt.
Jiang urged Thaksin to join the leadership summit of the Asia-Pacific
and Economic Cooperation to be held in Shanghai in October, and then continue
with an official visit to China. Thaksin responded to the invitation positively.
The Chinese leader also told his Thai counterpart about the dilemma facing
the People's Republic, which is continuing to open up its economy and
embrace globalisation. Jiang described globalisation as a double-edged
sword, with both benefits and drawbacks for his country.