News / Asia

Thai Junta Asks Diplomats to Soften Coup’s Image Abroad

FILE - Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks at the start of his first press conference since Thursday's coup, May 26, 2014.
FILE - Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks at the start of his first press conference since Thursday's coup, May 26, 2014.
The leader of Thailand’s junta gave instructions Wednesday to some of the country’s top diplomats to seek international understanding for the coup he carried out last month. Meanwhile, a delegation of military commanders has been dispatched to Beijing for a conference with high-level Chinese army officials.

General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who now holds all executive and legislative power in Thailand, met at army headquarters Wednesday with 23 of the country’s ambassadors and general consuls deployed in 21 countries.

The General, according to spokespersons for the junta and the foreign ministry, told the diplomats that they have a duty to create international understanding about the May 22 coup and he “would like ambassadors and government officials to help explain formally and informally.”

Kyoto University associate professor Pavin Chachavalpongpun asserts Thailand’s diplomats also have been given more ominous orders from the military.

“There is a conflicting policy of using these ambassadors, consul generals to put pressure on the host countries to try to shut up critics of the coup who live overseas, be they political activists or academics like myself, even to the point of trying to use their influence to force the host country to deport these people,” Pavin said.

Pavin calls the decrees targeting freedom of academic and other types of expression a violation of “basic human rights.”

Since the May 22 coup and the establishment of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to run the country, several hundred people have been detained. They include politicians, activists, academics and journalists. Many have been released after being interrogated and held incommunicado for a week or two in military camps.

Some have defied summons, which continue to be issued, to turn themselves in. Among them are some Thais living outside the country, including Pavin in Japan.

As the general met with the country’s diplomats, a delegation of Thai military commanders were on their way to China. They are to discuss with top-level Chinese army officials regional security and future joint training exercises.

The two countries have conducted joint exercises in the past.

The top representative at the conference for China is expected to be Lt. Gen. Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of the general staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The Thai junta says China has been supportive of the coup carried out by the army chief.
Thailand’s deputy permanent secretary for defense, General Surasak Kanjanarat, said the meetings in Beijing will map out "future plans of action" with the PLA.

A move to strengthen ties between Bangkok and Beijing comes after Western nations, including the United States, a long-time ally of Thailand, have been critical of the May 22 coup. The U.S. military ceased training maneuvers with Thailand’s forces in response to the coup.

Professor Pavin in Japan says due to their geographical proximity and burgeoning economic ties, the post-coup mutual embrace between Thailand and China is pragmatic and a win-win situation.

“The pressure from Western countries - (especially) the United States and Australia - could have played a role in pushing Thailand a little bit closer to China and knowing that there would be a lot of interest in doing so, anyway,” Pavin said.

Bilateral trade is expected to top 100 billion dollars next year, with China already Thailand’s largest trading partner.

The junta in Bangkok says China is among several countries which have expressed understanding of the reasons for last month’s military takeover.
General Prayuth has expressed a need to return "happiness" to the Thai people after a long and unsettling period of political chaos.

A junta spokesman, in a VOA interview subsequent to the coup, said a primary goal for the overthrow of the civilian caretaker government is to permanently eradicate the influence from politics of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. He was deposed in a 2006 coup but the party he backed won the 2011 election and Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, later became prime minister.

Parties backed by the wealthy family have won every national election in Thailand since 2001, primarily due to support at the ballot box from the northern rural poor.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid