The above-mentioned article was greatly disappointing. It was even more disappointing to read your editorial “From an Asean partner, fair criticism” on August 7. Seldom has one seen articles written with such an inherent bias, especially regarding Thailand’s political developments in relation to developments in Asean, not to mention factual inaccuracies. I therefore feel compelled to make the following points:
Firstly, since assuming office four years ago, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has announced a clear roadmap to pave the way towards a genuine and sustainable democracy that truly meets the needs and aspirations of the Thai people. The prime minister has strictly adhered to the roadmap, with all 10 organic laws fundamental to the political system and the holding of elections already passed by the National Legislative Assembly. Eight have already come into force and two are awaiting royal endorsement.
Moreover, the government has focused on instituting essential and comprehensive reforms to ensure the sustainable development of the country. Emphasis is placed on fighting corruption, advancing human-rights protection, and tackling deeply rooted and difficult issues such as human trafficking and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The progress made on these issues has been commended by our friends and the international community.
Second, since the very beginning, Thailand has shown her full commitment to Asean, which came into existence through the Bangkok Declaration. We have maintained an active and constructive role in this important community-building process. The government successfully made sustainable development a major policy platform for Asean. Through Thailand’s initiative, Asean is, for the first time, integrating people-centred sustainable development into its policies and launching a dialogue on this issue with key partners, such as the EU. The government is also setting up a regional warehouse of supplies that will support Asean’s disaster-relief efforts, under the coordination of the AHA Centre in Jakarta.
Third, the Asean chairmanship is not a personal undertaking but a national one. When Thailand takes up the chairmanship next year, with the new government taking full responsibility in hosting the relevant summits and related meetings, we aim to build on the foundations of Asean integration to advance a truly people-centred Asean for the future of our generations.
Director-General of the Department of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs