Military attaches from 18 countries get briefing

national June 19, 2014 00:00

By Panya Thiosangwan
The Nation

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The junta yesterday provided foreign military attachés with an update on political developments in Thailand and its plans to restore confidence following the power seizure in May.

Military attachés from 18 countries – Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam and South Korea – attended the briefing. Representatives from Cambodia, Laos, Spain and Kuwait were unable to attend.

The attachés met with the junta’s spokesperson team led by deputy spokesman Werachon Sukondhapatipak, who told reporters later that the discussion was aimed at establishing an understanding of the junta’s operations after the military takeover.

The junta wished to display its sincerity and its commitment to moving the country forward, he said.

“We wish to assure the foreign military attachés that Thailand’s relations with foreign partners remains a top priority,” he said.

He is optimistic that they will relay the information to their respective governments and that this will help paint a clear and real picture of the Thai political situation.

The junta is expected to hold weekly briefings for military attachés to avoid any misunderstandings that might arise about the country’s political situation.

The military was forced to seize control in order to end the long-standing problems and prevent further violence claiming Thai lives. Werachon said the public has been closely monitoring the junta’s actions since the coup and has placed their hopes in the military body. Hence, all decisions will be implemented with due care.

The junta has already eased many of the initial measures including the lifting of the curfew nationwide as the political situation improves and gradually returns to normal.

“We have asked our foreign friends to be patient and give us time to solve the country’s problems,” he said.

At the meeting, Indonesia’s military attache asked about the junta’s plan for holding a general election while those from European countries continued to express concern.

Junta chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha had instructed the team to not argue with countries that were strong in their stance against the junta.

“It would not be normal for them to welcome power seizure, all we can do is explain it to them,” he said.

The representative from Germany asked about last month’s visit to China by Defence Ministry’s acting permanent secretary General Surasak Kanchanarat, adding that his country placed importance on the Thai military’s position towards China.

“We informed him that the visit was scheduled in advance and China had not responded to the situation in Thailand. China informed us that mutual agreements with the Thai military would remain the same,” the spokesman said.

Japan’s attache wanted information about communications and cooperation after the coup.