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Thai PM sends wishes to Chinese community

By Yang Wanli in Ratchaburi, Thailand | China Daily | Updated: 2023-01-21 07:04

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha (L) attends a ceremony to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Ratchaburi province on Thursday. [Photo/Xinhua]

With a rabbit doll in hand and dressed in traditional attire, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha conveyed his Lunar New Year greetings to the Chinese communities in Thailand and China.

"Best wishes to all for a Happy Spring Festival and good fortune,"Prayut said in Chinese during a Chinese New Year ceremony in Ratchaburi province on Thursday.

Jan 22 marks the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Rabbit, which is celebrated mostly by the Thai-Chinese communities in Thailand.

Prayut said Thailand has been preparing to welcome Chinese tourists, and the two countries are now embracing new opportunities for future exchanges.

Thailand has the second-largest Chinese community in the world with about 9 million Chinese people. Ratchaburi is one of Thailand's major traditional settlements for Chinese communities.

Prayut said the Thai-Chinese friendship goes back centuries and the Thai people have a tradition of celebrating the Chinese New Year.

This year marks the 48th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Thailand and China. "Over the years, cooperation between the two countries has been deepened in various fields for the benefit of both peoples," Prayut said.

As China optimized its travel protocols, Prayut said Thai people are ready and eager to see the return of Chinese tourists.

More cooperation between Thailand and China will also be witnessed this year, he said.

Prayut then struck a Chinese-style drum, wishing everyone prosperity and good luck.

Mascot unveiled

The ceremony unveiled the official mascot of the celebration of"Happy Chinese New Year". It features a "Fortune Bag" with a rabbit doll and a traditional hongbao,or the red envelope, inside. The mascot, the first of its kind overseas, was designed by the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.

Yang Xin, charge d'affaires of the Chinese embassy in Thailand, attended the celebration along with several Thai government ministers, including Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.

Thailand has been among the top travel destinations ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year,local media reported. Its capital's biggest international airport Suvarnabhumi Airport is expected to welcome more than 1.8 million Chinese tourists between Jan 16 and Jan 28.

Chinese New Year celebrations in Ratchaburi will last till Feb 12.Similar celebrations are also held in cities and provincial areas, including Bangkok and Chiang Mai.


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