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Chinese official visits Thailand

BANGKOK, Thailand, Feb. 4 -- Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan has arrived in Bangkok to seal an agreement to deepen Thai- Chinese relations in the next century. Tang's counterpart, Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan, says today that a joint statement is to be signed by the two leaders Friday and will cover 'all dimensions' of bilateral cooperation and will be the first such agreement in Southeast Asia.

In addition to signing of the 'Joint Statement between the Kingdom of Thailand and the People's Republic of China of a Plan of Action for the 21st Century,' Tang is also expected to ratify an extradition treaty between the two countries during his two-day visit to Thailand. The plan of action reportedly was initiated by Thailand and proposed through Chinese Ambassador Fu Xuezhang. The Chinese foreign minister is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech on Sino-Thai relations on Friday, followed by visits to Thai Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai and King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Thai Foreign Minister Surin says the visit is important because of China's key role in bolstering the ailing economies of Southeast Asia, which depend on Beijing's continued support for maintaining the value of its yuan currency. ---

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