Xi reaches out to pupils stranded by thai floods
Vice-president Xi Jinping and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra visited a school in a village near Bangkok yesterday that was forced to suspend classes in late October because of severe flooding, giving students tablet computers and souvenirs.
The Chinese government has offered a US$400 million loan to help Thailand rebuild areas hit by severe flooding since July. The worst flooding in half a century swamped more than two-thirds of the country and affected millions of people.
On Thursday, the first day of Xi's visit to Thailand, he and Yingluck agreed to deepen co-operation in areas including finance, trade, infrastructure construction and water projects.
The two sides signed two agreements and four memorandums of understanding on Thursday, including a 70 billion yuan (HK$86 billion) currency swap and a high-speed railway construction deal, the Bangkok Post reported.
The high-speed railway project, which will link Bangkok and Chiang Mai, will have other routes added later, the report quoted Thai government spokeswoman Thitima Chaisang as saying.
The currency swap agreement, which will last for three years but could be extended, aims to strengthen financial co-operation and boost trade and investment between China and Thailand, China's central bank said in an announcement on its website on Thursday.
Analysts believe the agreement is also a positive sign for the internationalisation of the yuan.
Other agreements covered water use and clean energy in rural Thailand, the Bangkok Post report said.
At Thursday's meeting with the Thai prime minister, Xi said China was willing to participate in Thailand's flood relief effort and its long-term disaster relief planning.
Xi reiterated a bilateral trade target for 2015 previously set by the two countries and said they should explore more ways to co-operate economically so that bilateral trade volume could reach US$100 billion by 2015, Xinhua reported.
According to Chinese customs data, trade between China and Thailand totalled nearly US$53 billion last year. Xi suggested the two countries should enhance collaboration in railways, finance, disaster relief, marine and military affairs and law enforcement.
He also expressed hope that order and the safety of ships and their crew along the Mekong River could be guaranteed by greater co-operation between the two countries.
The two governments should at the same time deepen collaboration in culture, language teaching and tourism, he said.
For her part, Yingluck suggested more bilateral co-operation in infrastructure construction, water resources, the development of cheap, clean energy, human resources and education.
She hoped for great annual growth in bilateral trade, investment and tourism and said Thailand was willing to maintain safety on the Mekong River. She added that she is planning to visit China later.
The number of Thai provinces affected by the devastating floods that killed more than 530 from late July and affected 12.8 million