Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

Vietnam

Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

Vietnam

Article excerpt

The general perception of the Thais towards their neighbours, especially during the Cold War, was that Vietnam, as well as Myanmar, were their long-term adversaries. However, for Vietnam, the year 2000 saw a completely new chapter in relations with the Thais. Instead of dwelling on the previously existing security issues, a Thai business delegation, headed by M.R. Sukhumbhand, visited the Vietnamese capital early in the year with a trade target of US$1-2 billion. In the previous three years, trade volume had reached an annual average of about US$735 million, with Thailand ranked eleventh in Vietnamese foreign trade. During the recent tour, talks ranged from fisheries, food processing, construction, cement, and chemicals, to office automation.25 This was followed by a successful talk in March on an agreement to waive visa requirements for thirty-day visits by nationals from both countries, the first of its kind ever agreed to by Vietnam for any ASEAN member. In early May, the bilateral relationship received another boost when Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Kai made a three-day visit to Bangkok. By this time, Thailand had already referred to Vietnam as its regional partner desiring co-operation in rice exports, rather than a rival in trade. …

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