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Thai PM hails China's contributions to regional prosperity

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 economic slowdown.

RCEP comprises 10 ASEAN nations and its six trading partners - China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

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