East-Asia-Intel.com, April 25, 2012
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao guides Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on April 17.
In Beijing for a state visit April 17-19, Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra received a warmer than usual reception. That’s because China is desperately seeking an ally within the ASEAN community since four of the 10 member states are in increasingly acrimonious disputes with China over its expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Thailand is the preferred target of China’s ally-seeking efforts to get into ASEAN, partly because Thailand has no territorial disputes with China, and partly because China needs Thailand’s help in weeding out the growing Chinese dissident community living in exile in that country. Beijing views these dissident activists as dangerous to the communist regime.
"China and Thailand should work together to guarantee peace and stability in the South China Sea," China’s Premier Wen Jiabao told Yingluck, according to Xinhua.
"Thailand is willing to promote cooperation between ASEAN and China, and to play an active role in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea," Yingluck replied. The two leaders agreed to form a Sino-Thai Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
Thailand has been one of the favorite destinations for exiled Chinese dissidents who have been chased out of China by security forces.
The day after the announcement, Thai police arrested five Chinese pro-democracy activists in exile in Bangkok, including Cai Yuliang who has been a refugee in Thailand for 12 years without a valid Chinese passport.
The day Yingluck left China, Jiang Qinglin, a political heavyweight and a member of the ruling Standing Committee of the Politburo, led a delegation to Thailand on a six-day visit to further implement the partnership.