Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao pledged Tuesday to expand trade with Thailand to $100 billion annually and step up ties on a wide range of issues, including the joint patrol of the Mekong river.
In a meeting with Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Wen said the two neighbours should step up cooperation in railway construction, energy, maritime affairs, telecommunications and agriculture.
“We need to push forward trade and investment cooperation, expand the scope of settling accounts in the Chinese yuan and strive to realise bilateral trade of $100 billion before 2015,” Wen was quoted by China Central Television as saying.
“We should strengthen cooperation on railway construction and make travel between China and Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) more convenient.”
Following talks the two leaders oversaw the signing of seven agreements, including an economic and trade development plan and a pact to cooperate in fighting natural disasters.
Yingluck, on her first visit to China since becoming prime minister in August, is accompanied by a raft of Thai businesspeople.
According to Xinhua news agency, bilateral trade between the two nations hit nearly $65 billion in 2011.
The two leaders also discussed joint police patrols on the Mekong river, a key waterway where 13 Chinese sailors were killed in an attack in October last year, state television said.
“Both sides should jointly work together with Laos and Myanmar on law enforcement along the Mekong River,” Wen said.
The four nations began implementing joint law enforcement on the Mekong in December after the sailors were killed in a raid on two Chinese cargo boats – an attack thought to have been carried out by a notorious gang in the “Golden Triangle” area known for drug smuggling.
Police in Thailand detained nine soldiers suspected of killing the sailors, who were also thought to have links to a Myanmar drug kingpin.
Yingluck said the trials of the suspected perpetrators were nearly over and pledged “severe punishment” if they are found guilty, the report said.
The Mekong flows through China’s southwestern province of Yunnan into Southeast Asia, serving as a major trade route through several countries including Cambodia and Vietnam.