Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Cabinet set to mull China submarine deal 

Mar 28. 2017
File photo : Prawit
File photo : Prawit
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By The Nation

The Cabinet is expected to discuss on Tuesday the Bt18 billion submarine-purchasing deal with China, given that the first Bt800-million instalment of the money is due by the end of this month.

It is expected that the agenda item at the weekly Cabinet meeting will be proposed by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan, although that cannot be confirmed.

Last week, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said the deal was settled in a “buy-two-get-three” way, plus services after the purchase, meaning the government would pay for two submarines and get the third one as “a free gift”. 

The submarines should be worth the money spent on them, he said.

The details of the first instalment of the Yuan Class S26 T submarine is expected to be concluded on Tuesday, as the Budget Bureau announced that any proposal for a deal not exceeding Bt1 billion needs to be put before the Cabinet by this month.

The purchase, hyped up since the military-installed government took power in 2014, has been carried out amid criticism about the necessity of spending so much money given that Thailand has no maritime security threats.

But Prayut insisted the submarines were needed because the Kingdom’s small submarine fleet was decommissioned in 1951.

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