NA Chairman's official visit to Thailand will raise bilateral ties to a new height: Thai expert

Pham Ngoc Diep-VOV correspondent in Thailand
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(VOVWORLD) - National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue will pay an official visit to Thailand from December 7 to December 10, reflecting the development of the Vietnam-Thailand relationship and creating favorable conditions for upgrading the bilateral relations to comprehensive strategic partnership in the year to come. On this occasion Kavi Chongkittavorn, a senior fellow at Chulalongkorn University's Institute of Security and International Studies and an expert in ASEAN and international relations, granted an interview with VOV correspondent in Thailand.
NA Chairman's official visit to Thailand will raise bilateral ties to a new height: Thai expert - ảnh 1Kavi Chongkittavorn, a senior fellow at Chulalongkorn University's Institute of Security and International Studies and an expert in ASEAN and international relations, granted an interview with VOV correspondent in Thailand. (Photo: VOV)

Reporter: Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue is scheduled to pay an official visit to Thailand on Dec 7-10, 2023. How would you evaluate the enhanced strategic partnership between Thailand and Vietnam in the last ten years?

Mr. Kavi Chongkittavorn: First of all, the visit of the National Assembly Chairman Mr. Vuong Dinh Hue, is very significant to the strengthening of Thai Vietnamese relation because he will meet all the dignitaries of Thailand, including having an audience with the King besides meeting with his colleague in the Thai Parliament, Mr. Muhamad Wan Noor Matha. He will also have a special meeting with, of course at the parliament, with Mr. Wan Noor and leading MPs.

And the most important, for me, at least, is that he will spend two days in Udon Thani. The visit, a lot of people didn't realize it will be the first time for Vietnam to open the so-called Vietnam Town.

This is the first time in the region to sort of make announcement of the presence of Vietnam's community overseas the so-called Viet Kieu. It's also the recognition in Thailand, especially in Udon Thani, that there is such a place called Vietnam Town, (Thanon Vietnam), which is very significant in Thailand because in Thailand, you know, there's over 100,000 Viet Kieu living and this is a very great contribution.

And moreover, I'm fortunate to know that he also will continue the legacy of Bac Ho, former president Ho Chi Minh. Because he has left a long legacy, a good one in, you know, in 1928. And actually, I remember the month this in July in 1928 that former President Ho Chi Minh came to Isan (northeast region of Thailand) to fight for national repatriation. So, he has been here all along, and this legacy has been continuing. So, this is a very important, this is why the visit for Mr. Vuong Dinh Hue’s visit is very significant because it's not only the continuation of the past, promoting the future of Thai-Vietnamese relation and it's also a stepping stone for Thailand and Vietnam to move forward from strategic partnership to comprehensive partnership. Of course, I think this will happen next year.

Reporter: What do you evaluate on the cooperation between Thailand and Vietnam at regional and international forums? What do you suggest to further strengthen this cooperation?

Mr. Kavi Chongkittavorn: There are several key points. First of all, you have to understand that Thailand and Vietnam are located in a very strategic position in mainland Southeast Asia. Thailand is in the hub of Indochina and Vietnam is located in a very important coastal area facing South China Sea. So together, Thailand and Vietnam can cooperate and create a balance relation with all great power that engage with us.

And number two, Thailand and Vietnam are major players of ASEAN. In the year 2019, Thailand was the chair, followed immediately by Vietnam. So, the two countries actually catch up and reinforce each other in strengthening relation with external relation, especially within the context of China and Vietnam. That is why ASEAN has maintained a very, what do you call, close and balanced strategic relation with the two powers.

And finally, it's very important to mention that Thailand and Vietnam are member of the Mekong sub regional region. So, it's very important and in recent year, Vietnam has very, what do you call big commitment to promote the cooperation in Mekong and together with Thailand under the so-called ACMES program or Ayeyawady - Chao Phraya - Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy.

Both countries can help to manage water resources so that it can become sustainable and also maintain the green environment. Moreover, together, they will be able to promote progress. And this is the point I would like to emphasize. They can promote the connectivity and supply chain resilience.

A lot of people didn't think that Mekong supply chain resilience could be expanded in global network. So, this is where, I think, Thailand and Vietnam can work together. Finally Thailand and Vietnam have already been working together on some what I call innovative idea. For example, in the area of digital transition and also Start-up because I have found out that Thailand and Vietnam have started a so called three connection networks. That also very important to link between private sectors and the government and the local level and also young entrepreneur startups.

Reporter: After the visit to Vietnam in October by Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara, the two countries have agreed to prepare for the upgrade of the bilateral relationship to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2024, how would you see the prospects of bilateral cooperation in all fields in the years to come?

Mr. Kavi Chongkittavorn: The Thailand-Vietnam relation is considered the best among ASEAN countries because it's problem free. That is why the two countries will decide next year to become a comprehensive strategic partner (CSB). Maybe Thailand is the first ASEAN country to be CSB because Vietnam have already five. You have China, India, Russia, Japan, and most recently the United States.

But what is more important, when Thailand and Vietnam become comprehensive strategic partnership?

There must be more specific, not just become comprehensive strategic partnership and then do nothing. I think it's about time that Thailand and Vietnam join together because we have common interests. For example, in innovation, in Start-up, we have share similarities, it is the most important become comprehensive strategic partnership with specific objective and common programs.

Reporter: In terms of parliamentary cooperation, how would you evaluate potential developments expected from the two sides after the upcoming visit?

Mr. Kavi Chongkittavorn: I think there are two points. First point, the cooperation between the two legislative branches is very important. You know, the integration of ASEAN is very important and actually it depends very much on the lawmakers. A lot of people didn't realize that Vietnamese integration was very fast with ASEAN because the National Assembly was able to adjust its legislative measure toward ASEAN integration objective. That's why integration, particularly after 2010, Vietnam changed the law to adapt and adjust to broader ASEAN regulation. So, integration is very smoothly implemented.

Number two, between Thailand, there are various things you can do because in Thailand, also in Vietnam, you have various committees, foreign affairs committees, you have many other activities. This, I think can be expanded. I think you will sign a memorandum of understanding. It's very important to have senior level exchange between the two countries. I think this very, very good starter for Thailand to have the way to become much more comprehensive in their relation.

Reporter: Thank you very much.