Thai junta defend coup in Burma

Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha (PHOTO: AP)

Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ permanent secretary has made Burma the first stop on a mission to defend the coup.

Sihasak Phuangketkeow met Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin in Burma on 2 June, according to Thailand’s Department of Information head, Sek Wannameetee.

Mr Sihasak explained to Burma’s foreign minister the three-stage plan set out by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which it hopes will return democracy to Thailand.

As this year’s chair of ASEAN, Burma could use its position to help explain the ”truth” behind the recent coup to other ASEAN members, Mr Sek said.

He admitted that ASEAN members have growing concerns about the coup, as they see Thailand as a major player in the region.

“With the second biggest economy in ASEAN, many fear the situation in Thailand could have regional repercussions,” Mr Sek said.

“Thailand has reassured Myanmar [Burma] it will continue to pursue its role in the community, and advance foreign policy,” he added.

Mr Sek said ASEAN is unlikely to call a meeting to discuss the coup. “Such a meeting would be unprecedented, and ASEAN will stick by its principles of not interfering with the internal affairs of its members,” he said.

The ministry said after the meeting last night that Burma’s foreign minister understood the situation, and hoped the junta would stick to its three-stage plan.

Meanwhile, Mr Sek also addressed the outcome of the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday.

At the annual summit, Mr Sihasak and NCPO members discussed Thailand’s political stability.

Thai delegates at the meeting informed their counterparts that many of the rules which infringe on people’s rights and liberties had been relaxed, such as changing curfew hours.

Mr Sek said the ministry had issued Gen Prayuth’s three-stage plan for democracy to every Thai embassy and consulate.

Each Thai embassy has been asked to present the plan to their respective host governments. Informing international organisations in Thailand is also a priority, he said.

By BANGKOK POST

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