Wed, October 20, 2021

in-focus

Minister denies Prayut in secret talks with Myanmar junta chief


Digital Economy and Society (DES) Minister Chaiwut Thanakmanusorn has rebutted a Nikkei Asia report that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is engaged in backdoor diplomacy with the head of Myanmar’s junta Min Aung Hlaing.

The May 12 report quotes “a source in the prime minister’s inner circle” as saying:

"We have maintained back channels, and [Prayut and Min Aung Hlaing] can communicate without having to meet. They have talked since the coup."

Min Aung Hlaing led the February 1 coup against the government of Aung San Suu Kyi which has been followed by a crackdown on civilian protests that advocacy groups say has killed almost 800 people.

DES Minister Chaiwut said the report, which has been shared widely by Thai netizens, was inaccurate and would affect relations between Thailand and Myanmar.

"I would like to confirm that since the emergence of Myanmar’s protests, Prayut has not contacted Min Aung Hlaing, while there is no person close to the PM who would share such information with foreign news agencies," he said.

Chaiwut said that so far, official negotiations between Thailand and Myanmar had not included personal contact between Prayut and Min Aung Hlaing, while Prayut had confirmed many times that Thailand will not interfere in Myanmar's internal affairs.

"The source cited by Nikkei Asia was a former official at the Foreign Affairs Ministry who has a standpoint opposed to Prayut's government," he added.

Published : May 17, 2021

By : The Nation