Visa exemption to promote China-Thailand exchanges: Chinese premier

Updated: 2013-10-13 03:38


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BANGKOK - Proposed visa exemption for regular passport holders will offer Chinese and Thai tourists more convenience, and promote closer bilateral people-to-people exchanges, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said here on Saturday.

Chattering with Chinese tourists in the Thai capital, Li, currently on an official visit to the country, asked about their tourism experiences in Thailand and talked about the visa exemption initiative.

With visa exemption, it would be much easier, cheaper, as well as time saving for Chinese tourists to travel to Thailand, Li told the Chinese travellers.

Thailand is the first country within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to start such talks with China.

The move was first announced by the Chinese premier when he addressed the Thai Parliament on Friday shortly after his arrival in the Southeast Asian country.

Li said in his speech that visa exemption would facilitate the people-to-people and cultural exchanges of the two countries, and bring more benefits to the two peoples.

China is now the largest source of foreign visitors to Thailand, with Chinese visitors to the country topping 2.8 million person-times last year.

After visiting Bangkok, Li, accompanied by Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, visited the site of Royal Flora Expo in the northern Thai resort city of Chiang Mai.

Touring the the "Chinese Tang Garden", donated by China to Thailand during the expo, he said it embodies cultural exchanges between the two nations and bears witness to the bilateral friendship.

Li called for enhancing people-to-people exchanges between the two nations and promote the amity between the two peoples.