China, Thailand to allow visa-free entry to each other’s citizens in permanent deal from March 1 – Earn Charter

“This visa-free era will bring people-to-people exchanges to a new height,” Wang said after the signing.

The Thai ministry said the agreement is “among the first of many more activities to come in marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Thailand and China in 2025”.

Wang also said China was working with Thailand to tackle transnational crimes and scam syndicates.

His government is aiming to bring back tourists from China – Thailand’s largest source of tourism before the pandemic. It has set the goal of 8 million Chinese visitors this year, short of the 11 million before the pandemic but more than double the 3½ million last year.

In September, the heavily tourism dependent country waived entry requirements for Chinese travellers under a scheme expiring on February 29.
Thailand is the third Southeast Asian country that China has signed visa-free deals with since December, after similar agreements with Malaysia and Singapore.

China has been keen to step up exchanges with neighbours as it seeks to expand economic cooperation in the region while ties with the West remain fractious.

The ratification of the visa agreement was part of a four-day trip to Thailand by Wang that began on Friday.

His first two days in the Thai capital were dominated by talks with US national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
Chinese and US delegations led by Wang Yi and Jake Sullivan hold talks in Bangkok. Photo: Xinhua

The two officials confirmed plans for Chinese President Xi Jinping and his American counterpart Joe Biden to speak on the phone in the coming months, a senior White House official said.

The White House was expecting the call to “take place this spring”, the official said, adding: “This leader-level channel is absolutely critical to maintaining direction in the relationship.”

While Beijing has not confirmed the plans, it has pledged to “maintain frequent contact between the two state leaders”, such that they could guide strategies for relations between the rival countries.

The Chinese foreign ministry said both sides were committed to “boost exchanges at all levels” and use existing communication channels and mechanisms.

The White House official also said the two sides discussed “important global and regional security issues, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Middle East including the Red Sea”, as well as North Korea, the South China Sea and Myanmar.

“On the Red Sea, we certainly underscored that Iran continues to take irresponsible actions that exacerbate regional tensions and instability, including by supporting the Houthis’ attacks against civilian ships in the Red Sea,” the official said.

“Mr Sullivan raised the importance of Beijing using its substantial leverage with Iran to call for an end and bring an end to these dangerous attacks.”

Additional reporting by Reuters

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