Premier Wen Jiabao and his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra agreed on Tuesday to upgrade bilateral relations to a "comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership."
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) shakes hands with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in Beijing, capital of China, April 17, 2012. [Xinhua]
"Establishing the China-Thailand strategic cooperative partnership is of great significance for both countries and the peaceful development of East Asia," Wen told Yingluck during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People.
"China hopes to enhance strategic communication with Thailand, jointly face challenges and boost cooperation in diversified areas," Wen added.
Yingluck, who is visiting China for the first time as Thailand's prime minister, said the creation of the partnership meets the common interests of both countries.
She vowed to facilitate stronger cooperation with China in all areas, adding that her country will play a positive role in boosting ASEAN-China cooperation and maintaining peace and stability on the South China Sea.
The Chinese premier proposed expanding bilateral trade to 100 billion US dollars annually before 2015 and enhancing cooperation in ocean, telecommunication, technology, energy and agriculture.
Wen pledged continuous support for Thailand in its post-disaster reconstruction and water conservancy following last year's devastating flood, the worst flood to hit Thailand in nearly 50 years.
The two premiers also agreed to boost joint patrols of China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand along the Mekong River and jointly safeguard peace and stability on the South China Sea.
Yingluck said Thailand will conclude judicial proceedings regarding the murder of Chinese crewmen on the Mekong river as soon as possible and punish the criminals involved in accordance with the law.
Two Chinese cargo ships were attacked on Oct. 5 last year, with the attackers killing 13 sailors.
After their talk, the two premiers witnessed the sealing of seven bilateral cooperation agreements on issues ranging from trade, agriculture and railways to flood and drought prevention and ocean research.
Yingluck arrived in Beijing earlier Tuesday for a three-day official visit. The first female prime minister of Thailand was accompanied by executives from about 100 Thai companies.
According to Chinese Customs statistics, China is both the largest export market and second-largest import source for Thailand. The two countries' trade volume hit 64.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2011.