BANGKOK - Thai Prime Minister Prayut
Chan-o-cha, who is also chair of the 35th Association of the Southeast Asian
(ASEAN) Summit, has praised China's contributions to regional prosperity.
Thai government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat told Xinhua on
Sunday night that Prayut has expressed appreciation for China's efforts in
boosting trade benefits in all aspects.
"Just recently the ASEAN-China FTA protocol upgrade took
full effect to improve the original Framework Agreement for the ASEAN-China
Free Trade Area (ACFTA)," said Narumon. "Just for Thailand itself,
the upgrade will benefit those operating in the Eastern Economic Corridor."
Noting that ASEAN's relationship with China over the past 10
years has been the most dynamic and progressive, the Thai spokeswoman said
China has remained ASEAN's top trading partner for 10 years and ASEAN is now
China's second largest trading partner.
Since the ACFTA was launched in 2010, ASEAN-China trade volume
reached a record high of 587.8 billion US dollars in 2018.
ASEAN and China have been committed to increasing bilateral
trade and investment, and an early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive
Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations, said Narumon.
Prime Minister Prayut told other ASEAN leaders at the summit
that the RCEP trade talks should be finalized to stimulate growth amid a global
RCEP comprises 10 ASEAN nations and its six trading partners -
China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.