Thailand is one the most peace loving nations in the world. Thai history is replete with associations with other nations and cultures. This relationship and synergy is especially true for relations with giant neighbors- China and Russia. These relationships are extremely important culturally and geopolitically.
Relationship with China
China has been the greatest influencer of Thai culture, cuisine and politics. Its friendship with Thailand dates back to the Han and Tang dynasties. The Sukhothai kingdom in Thailand regularly sent envoys to the Yuam dynasty between 1292 and 1303. This relationship further strengthened durng the Ming dynasty’s repeated trade with the Ayudhya kingdom to the North of Thailand. This relationship laid the foundation of the synergy between Chinese society and the Thai people.
In the modern era, China after its establishment of the independent country in 1949, started its period of close ties with Thailand. The cultural and social exchange has been varied between the two nations. Millions of Chinese traders settled in Thailand and influenced the country’s cuisine and historical landscape. On July 1, 1975, Thailand and China established formal diplomatic relations in the post-modern era. That year, Thailand’s Prime Minister M.R. Krukrit Pramote visited China and met with Mao Zedong. Several members of the Royal family too, visited China. Several Chinese presidents since Deng Xiaoping have visited Thailand to cement ties. Relations have now escalated to healthy trading between two of the region’s largest economies. China and Thailand are trusting neighbors and are part of the Treaty of Amity signed with Russia.
Relationship with Russia
Russian and Thai relations have seen a certain change in the past 10 years. Historically, Russia when part of the Soviet Union was not too comfortable with the Thai union with the United States. Cold War politics and trade expansion, with Thailand becoming one of South East Asia’ 7 tiger economies, made relations with Soviet Russia a bit suspect. However, with Russia itself accepting the market economy in the early 1990s, saw trade jump with South East Asian tiger economies. Though the relationship between Russia and Thailand has seen an upswing with defense ties exploding, after Thai military bought billions worth Russian aircrafts, trade and tourism still is miniscule compared to that with China. Thailand wants Russian tourists to visit its exotic land in large numbers after recession hit West saw tourist numbers fall. Nevertheless, the ties between the two countries are still not close to the potential.
Treaty of Amity and Sino-Russian influence on Thailand
Thailand has been a signatory of the South East Asian Treaty of Amity signed on 24 February 1976, brought into force by the leaders of the original members of ASEAN, led by Singaporean PM Lee Kuan Yew, Phillipino President Ferdinand Marcos, Malaysian PM Datuk Hussein Onn, Thai PM Kukrit Pramoj, and Indonesian President Suharto. Other Asian and non-Asian countries have joined the treaty in the last 10 years. Thailand is bordered by both China and India. The Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean are shared by the giant neighbors China and India. The country is extremely important for its maritime and sea routes, making it a strategic country of importance in South East Asia. Both Russia and China have forged an important relationship with Thailand, militarily and economically watched closely by India and the United States.