Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 1600 GMT, Jan. 9

JAKARTA — Indonesian Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Uno said on Monday that the Southeast Asian country is ready to welcome Chinese tourists following China’s optimized COVID-19 strategy.

“We are ready to welcome Chinese tourists with a red carpet,” Uno said at a weekly news briefing in the country’s capital Jakarta.

“We just need to follow our CHSE (cleanliness, health, safety and environment sustainability) standard just like what we have been doing all this time,” he said. (Indonesia-Chinese Tourists-Welcome)

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BANGKOK — Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday officially joined the Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party (United Thai Nation Party) to run for this year’s general election.

At the party’s general assembly held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, Prayut was nominated as the party’s candidate for prime minister. (Thai PM-New Party-Joining)

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SEOUL — The Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) announced Monday that the Chinese characters “Hehe,” meaning harmony, were selected as the China-Japan-South Korea Word of the Year 2023, beating 11 other words to represent the spirit of the three countries.

“The reason why people picked the word “Hehe” is because people hope the trilateral cooperation among the three countries will contribute to common prosperity and harmony in East Asia,” TCS Deputy Secretary-General Sakata Natsuko said at the announcing ceremony. (Chinese Characters-Word-2023)

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PHNOM PENH — Sixty-three percent of the construction work on a Chinese-invested international airport in northwestern Cambodia’s Siem Reap province has so far been completed, said a press statement on Monday.

The statement was released after an annual meeting of the Steering Committee for the Construction of the Siem Reap Angkor International Airport led by Tekreth Samrach, secretary of state at the Council of Ministers. Cambodia-Airport Construction-China)

BANGKOK — Thailand on Monday welcomed the arrival of thousands of Chinese tourists in its capital of Bangkok, the first group following China’s optimization of COVID-19 strategy which took effect on Jan. 8.

At the Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and other senior officials welcomed 269 tourists from the Chinese city of Xiamen, who were greeted with flowers and gift bags. (Thailand-Chinese Tourists-Welcome)