Vietnam and Thailand are celebrating 35 years of diplomatic relations with calls for building the ASEAN Community by 2015 among other regional goals.

Assistant Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh reiterated Vietnam ’s unswerving policy of respecting relations with Thailand and other nations in the region, at a workshop held by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam in Hanoi on August 2.

“Developing long term and comprehensive relations with Thailand will benefit both countries and contribute to peace, stability, linkage and development in Southeast Asia ,” Vinh said.

The senior diplomat emphasised the need for the two members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to boost relations within regional frameworks, including the East-West Corridor and the Mekong Sub-region.

Such relations will contribute to building an ASEAN Community by 2015 as well as to peace, stability and cooperation for development in the region and the rest of the world, concluded the minister’s aide.

In regard to bilateral relations, Thai Ambassador to Vietnam Anuson Chinvanno highlighted the huge leaps forward in the past 35 years since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1976.

Two-way trade turnover surged by 21 percent year on year to 7 billion USD in 2010 and was expected to hit the 10 billion USD mark in several years to come, he said.

As a result, Thailand was Vietnam ’s third-largest trade partner in ASEAN and ranked 10 th in the list of foreign investors with over 300 projects, capitalised at 6.3 billion USD.

Vietnam and Thailand had signed 50 agreements, creating a firm legal foundation for them to boost bilateral relations in all fields and contribute to building the ASEAN Community by 2015 as planned.

Bilateral relations within regional frameworks were also highlighted at a meeting held in Ho Chi Minh City on the same day.

Director of the municipal Foreign Service Department Tran Quang Dung and Consul General of the Thai General Consulate in HCM City Somchai Powcharoen emphasised the importance of ASEAN, the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) and the Great Mekong Sub-region as key forums.

Economic relations were also high on the event’s agenda.

It was reported that Thailand had invested almost 132 million USD in 91 projects in HCM City ─ the nation’s largest economic hub. Thailand had also emerged as the first choice for municipal residents looking for outbound tours. The Bangkok-Phnom Penh-Ho Chi Minh tour, which was being trialled, was expected to boost tourism significantly./.