China has invited the new King of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn, for a State Visit.
Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi was on an official visit to Thailand when he made the announcement. The Thai King’s visit to China would mark the first time that a Thai King has visited the People’s Republic of China.
The last time the Heads of State of Thailand and China met was in 2003. The President of China at the time, Hu Jintao, visited the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Bangkok.
King Bhumibol was a popular king in Thailand and had been a source of stability in a country rocked by coups.
The King is, however, protected by very strict lese majesty laws which make it illegal to insult, defame, or threaten living or deceased members of the royal family including their pets.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn has not made any overseas visits since he took to the throne in December following his father’s death. He is yet to reach the level of respect King Bhumibol had.
During his visit to Thailand, Wang Yi pledged his commitment to furthering the strength of the two countries bilateral relationship. He said that “China and Thailand are one family.”
Mr Wang said that the Thailand royal family has “greatly contributed to Chinese-Thai relations.”
He welcomed the new Thai King to pay a state visit to China while also extending an invitation to the Thai Prime Minister to participate in a dialogue about emerging markets and developing economies.
He said that China was “delighted to cordially invite His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun to visit China soon.”
He said China was “happy to see the role of Thailand increasing in the region and in the world.”
Mr Wang signed a book of condolences for King Bhumibol at the Grand Palace before departing for the Philippines.