Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Prawit confirms China submarine purchase done deal

Apr 25. 2017
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan talks to media before he chairs a Cabinet meeting at the Government House on Tuesday.
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan talks to media before he chairs a Cabinet meeting at the Government House on Tuesday.
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By The Nation

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan on Tuesday admitted that the Cabinet had approved a Navy proposal to buy a Yuan-class submarine from China for Bt13.5 billion.

Reports in the media said Prawit quietly put the proposal to Cabinet for a decision last Tuesday and instructed the Navy’s commander, Admiral Na Arreenich, to finalise the purchasing contract with the designated Chinese manufacturer soon. 

There was no press conference about the approval being given.

Prawit said he could not remember when the Cabinet approved the project.

“It was passed [by Cabinet] a long time ago. I can’t remember when but I was in the meeting. Why do you [media] need to know when it was approved, or do you want to know how I breathe too?” he said. 

When asked why the Cabinet did not hold a press conference on the deal being approved, Prawit said it was not held because documents related to the project were confidential.

“It’s not unusual. No Cabinet reveals confidential documents because they are related to national strategy,” he said.

He said the purchase of the submarines was necessary for the country as it would help preserve Thailand’s marine natural resources and was part of the Navy’s development. 

The government planned to purchase three Yuan-class S26T submarines at a total cost of Bt36 billion. 

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said earlier that Thailand had been offered a “buy two, get three” submarine deal with China, complete with various weapons systems and after-sales services.

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