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Thailand ‘to benefit from Xi’s ascension,’ say academics

Thailand ‘to benefit from Xi’s ascension,’ say academics

BANGKOK: Maintaining neutrality and a balanced foreign policy amid rising tensions among global powers will help Thailand benefit from China’s new administration, which comprises mostly reform-minded executives, according to academics.

ChinesetourismCOVID-19
By Bangkok Post

Monday 24 October 2022, 09:53AM


People watch a live broadcast of China’s President Xi Jinping speaking during the introduction of the Communist Party of China’s Politburo Standing Committee, on a screen at a shopping mall in Qingzhou yesterday (Oct 23). Photo: AFP

People watch a live broadcast of China’s President Xi Jinping speaking during the introduction of the Communist Party of China’s Politburo Standing Committee, on a screen at a shopping mall in Qingzhou yesterday (Oct 23). Photo: AFP

They were expressing their views after Chinese leader Xi Jinping yesterday (Oct 23) secured a third five-year term as general secretary of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with a new leadership dominated by loyalists.

Piti Srisangnam, director for academic affairs at Chulalongkorn University’s Asean Studies Centre, told the Bangkok Post that most of the newly-elected senior members of the CCP’s Central Committee favour reform.

This is a signal that China is now ready to emerge as a global economic power that will focus on joining development initiatives with other countries, Mr Piti said, adding this will benefit Thailand’s leading role in Asean.

“China has rivals on the global economic stage,” he said.

“Even though Thailand has close ties with China, it does not take sides in conflicts, and this should benefit the country if China eases travel curbs and allows its citizens to travel abroad.”

With small numbers of COVID-19 fatalities and infections as well as amicable ties with China, Thailand will always be among the top destinations for Chinese visitors, he said.

China has been implementing its stringent zero-COVID policy of lockdowns, movement restrictions, and mass testing to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Piti said the policy now shows gradual signs of loosening, with lockdowns in certain areas instead of whole cities.

Foreign arrivals in China only need to quarantine for seven days at a government facility and then an additional three days in home isolation, down from a period of up to 21 in quarantine and seven more days of home isolation.

“A Chinese-made COVID-19 mRNA vaccine was also approved by Indonesia for emergency use in September,” Piti said.

“It is possible that China will ease travel restrictions and reopen further next year, and Thailand will be among the first destinations for Chinese tourists,” he said.

Aksornsri Phanishsarn, an expert on China’s economy at Thammasat University’s faculty of economics, told the Bangkok Post that Xi declared he will carry on with what he initiated during his previous two terms.

These include restructuring China’s economy with a focus on strengthening growth from within, scaling down dependence on technology from other countries, reducing its export-to-GDP ratio to 18–19%, boosting spending of its more than 400 million middle-class consumers and making other countries rely more on the Chinese market, Ms Aksornsri said.

Unfazed by the economic and social challenges from the zero-COVID policy, Xi also insisted China will stick to the policy, saying the measure has saved Chinese lives, she said.

She said curbs are expected to be eased only after vaccination rates among elderly people in China have increased.

China, she said, will have to continue developing its mRNA vaccines to deal with new strains.

China also needs to ensure its public health system is equipped to accommodate COVID-19 patients, particularly those requiring intensive care, she said.

Aksornsri said Chinese tourists cannot be expected to visit Thailand in large numbers in the upcoming high season as long as the quarantine requirement for arrivals into China remains in place.

Before the pandemic, many Chinese tourists in Thailand were first-time travellers and budget travellers, she added.

“We should turn our attention to upmarket tourists. They may not come in large numbers but they will include businessmen and investors.

“China is seeking to invest in Thailand, particularly in the electric vehicle industry,” she said.

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Pooliekev | 27 October 2022 - 20:53:50

No he won't Kurt. What reason do you have for saying that? None, as usual. 

Kurt | 27 October 2022 - 13:10:59

When Thai academics say that Thailand benefit from the power grip of Xi Jinping than is that saying something of Thai academics thinking. Xi Jinping is a danger to Asean. He is now the chinese Putin. He will go after Taiwan, and the whole South Chinese Sea.

JohnC | 25 October 2022 - 09:02:11

Nobody but China benefits from him pretty much declaring himself leader for life. To the detriment of the rest of the world. Wonder how long before he does a 'Putin' on Taiwan to leave his legacy of death and destruction to try and glorify his name for eternity. The future is looking grim....

Pooliekev | 24 October 2022 - 16:40:22

F-35 is old technology now. China has long surpassed it. Remember when they crashed one into the seas just off Taiwan? China just yawned and got on with more important stuff.

Fascinated | 24 October 2022 - 10:20:26

Good luck with the F-35 purchase! Not that that would ever happen anyway.

 

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