KEY government figures yesterday sent out unclear signals regarding a reported US approval to sell missiles to Thailand.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the government did not have the budget to buy the weapons.
Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan yesterday denied having purchased new missiles from the United States, saying the military had already ordered all the weapons it needed. His reaction came in response to media reports that the US State Department had approved the sale of five RGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles, costing Thailand approximately Bt828 million (US$24.9 million).
The US State Department reported that Thailand had asked to buy five anti-ship missiles, in addition to another missile, to be used by the DW3000 Class Frigate. The proposed purchase, it said, included containers, spare parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment.
It also included technical assistance from US government and contractor representatives, engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and programme support. “This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-Thai strategic relationship and to improve the security of an important partner,” the US State Department statement said.
A US Embassy official said, “Current military sales are part of our longstanding partnership and continuing sales of defence equipment to Thailand. All pending arm sales are guided by the criteria in the Conventional Arm Transfer Policy which includes regional stability and technology security.”