Experts plot win-win strategy for Thailand amid China-US ‘cold war’
Thailand must prioritise national interests as its guiding principle to cope with emerging geopolitical tensions and a new world order, experts warned on Monday.
Piti Srisangnam, director Chulalongkorn University’s Asean Studies Centre, noted the globe was shifting into a new world order with two key players – the United States and China.
These two superpowers are bidding to extend their economic influence across the globe, resulting in a clash of contradicting treaties, policies and regulations, said Piti, speaking at a seminar titled "Asia-Pacific Regions' Challenges and Development".
He added that Thailand must be clear in its own stance when confronting this multipolar scenario, which has been dubbed the new Cold War.
"We must declare that we are a nonaligned country, ready to collaborate with all parties based on mutual and equal interests with counterparts," said Piti.
Thailand has come under pressure over its neutral stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict following Western powers’ heavy sanctions on Moscow and soaring fuel prices as Russia cut supplies.
Piti suggested that Thailand also strengthen ties with Asean neighbours, South Asia, and the Middle East to increase its bargaining power. And it should strictly adhere to international principles by not interfering in the internal affairs of other countries while offering appropriate humanitarian assistance.
"If we stick strictly to global rules that are widely accepted, no one can easily threaten our country," he said.
Meanwhile, Anuson Chinvanno, director of the Foreign Ministry's International Studies Centre, pinpointed climate change as another big challenge for the Asia-Pacific region, including Thailand. The country must prepare for severe-weather effects, he added. His warning came as communities across the country suffer flooding amid forecasts of 26 per cent higher than average rainfall this year.
He also backed the bio-circular-green economy (BCG), a new government model that will be the focal point when Thailand hosts the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in November.
Piriya Khempon, former ambassador to China, identified cooperation as the keyword for Thailand's continued growth.
Competition and confrontation should take a back seat in Thai foreign affairs as these were win-lose strategies. Cooperation, on the other hand, was a win-win approach, Priya said.
Tarakorn Wuttisatirakul, president of the Thai-China Belt and Road Investment Trade Association, supported Piriya's strategy, saying that cooperation with other countries via the BRI project was a shortcut to Thailand's development, especially in terms of technology, security and sustainability.
Chib Jitniyom, international news editor at Nation TV, said while there were many platforms for economic and trade cooperation between countries, China's Belt and Road Initiative was currently the most prominent.
Comparing the United States and China, he stated that China had performed better in terms of soft power and cooperation because it views itself as a friendly business partner rather than a dominant ruler.