Thailand prime minister requests another giant panda from China

Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin recently voiced his desire for China to send another giant panda to Thailand. This request follows the death of Lin Hui, a beloved panda who had been a significant attraction in the country.

The prime minister’s request received support from Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, highlighting the close diplomatic relations between the two nations that span over half a century.

The 61 year old Thai prime minister articulated that the presence of the giant pandas symbolises the warm bilateral ties between Thailand and China. He stated, that Thailand does not have a panda. However, the absence of pandas does not truly mirror our close diplomatic relations with China over the past 50 years. This statement was made during his meeting with the Chinese minister at the Government House in Bangkok.

Previously, the Chiang Mai Zoo was home to two giant pandas, Xuang Xuang and Lin Hui, both of whom became immediate stars after they arrived in 2003 as symbols of goodwill. However, Xuang Xuang passed away in 2019, and Lin Hui died last year, leaving Thailand panda-less.

The visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang, set to conclude on Monday, was marked by the signing of a mutual visa-waiver agreement. This agreement allows Thai and Chinese passport holders to enter each other’s countries visa-free for 30 days, a policy that will become effective from March 1.

Additionally, PM Srettha and Yi agreed to accelerate the construction of railway links that will connect Thailand and China via Laos. This commitment was echoed by Yi on Sunday, following a meeting with Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara. He emphasised the necessity for both countries to progress on the rail project, which falls under the Belt and Road Initiative, as reported by Xinhua.

Thailand and Laos have also agreed on the extension of railroad services from Thanaleng, the Lao border town opposite Nong Khai, to Khamsavath, a new station in southern Vientiane. However, the construction of the high-speed tracks from Bangkok to Nong Khai, which will connect with the Lao train, has been slow-paced.

In light of the golden jubilee of diplomatic ties between Thailand and China due next year, the Bangkok-born PM and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed last year to commemorate this significant milestone with numerous activities, reported Bangkok Post.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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