A Chinese news website has reported that the relationship with the US is an important factor in Thailand's decision to put on hold plans to buy submarines from China.
The Global Times online quoted Li Haidong, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University, as saying it was clear that the US did not want to see closer cooperation between China and Thailand, especially in terms of military ties and defence.
From the perspective of foreign relations, it was understandable and predictable that Thailand considers its relationship with the US a very important diplomatic priority, Li said.
Thai deputy premier Prawit Wongsuwan said the US$1.6 billion acquisition for its first submarine from China was put on hold and that the Navy needed to further study the matter.
Meanwhile Lan Yun, deputy editorinchief of the Beijingbased Modern Ships magazine, told the website that the S26T Submarine China is the most costeffective model among all the bids.
“Thailand’s defence ministry might not have reached a consensus with its finance ministry on the issue of cost and Thailand is not in urgent need of a submarine,” Lan said.
With an AirIndependent Propulsion system, the 2,600ton submarine priced $355 million was obviously a better choice than the 900Ton S210 German submarine, costing around $340 million, Lan added.