In this article we examine how the phrase “China and Thailand are brothers” became the diplomatic discourse that both countries commonly use to articulate their cordial relations. First, we trace the historical contexts in which the discourse was constructed and how this discourse played a crucial role in encouraging overseas Chinese to integrate into Thai society in the early twentieth century. Second, we explain how the discourse provided insights for Thai and Chinese political elites relevant to the transformation of their nations’ foreign policies toward Sino-Thai normalization during the Cold War. We further demonstrate how the discourse has reinforced a certain perception of Sino-Thai relations since diplomatic normalization between the two countries. Finally, we suggest a rethinking of the implications of diplomatic discourse with Chinese characteristics to better understand China’s relationship with foreign countries in general and with Thailand in particular.


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pp. 597-621
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