Thailand made the strongest statement to date about the turmoil in neighboring Myanmar when Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said Wednesday that he did not accept the regime’s post-coup violence Burma has killed nearly 600 pro-democracy protesters.
Thailand’s former military general and former military leader made the remarks a few days after Thailand’s friend China – as well as Russia – supported them after a special summit with the leaders. Southeast Asian countries to discuss the crisis in Myanmar.
China’s response to the coup has been muted, just as when Prayuth, as Chief of Staff of the Royal Thai Army, came to power in a military coup that overthrew the elected government. in 2014.
“It is not that we are not concerned with humanitarian issues – life is life – but the government proposes solutions to these problems through the foreign ministry,” Prayuth told reporters. what seems to be his government’s defense is relatively silent. response to the upheaval in Myanmar since the military there overthrew the democratically elected government on February 1.
“We can’t do whatever we want, because we have common borders [with Myanmar] and we rely on each other for many things. But we certainly disagree with violence and we told them the same, and kept telling them to decrease [violence]. “
The Prime Minister added that “we must systematically fix the problems” in Myanmar. He also noted that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is planning to hold a special meeting in Jakarta soon with leaders from across the region.
Notably, the announcement by ASEAN members Malaysia and Brunei that a summit of leaders will be held in Myanmar, comes three days after China said it supported a meeting. so. However, the bloc has not announced the date of the special summit.
The bloc that has not intervened for more than two months has been unable to reach a consensus on how to deal with the authorities in Myanmar.
Last week, after the bloodiest day in Myanmar following the coup when military and security forces killed 114 civilians during anti-government protests on March 27, Thailand’s Foreign Ministry for the first time in two months of expressing concern about the situation in the neighboring country.
On the contrary, on the day of the coup in Burma, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said, “It is their own business, it is their internal affairs.”
And on March 22, a Thai Army spokesman denied local media reports that a Thai border security agency had supplied 700 bags of rice to the Army’s base of operations. Myanmar is located in the state of Karen, located along the Thailand-Myanmar border. Any transactions that take place are part of “conventional border trade,” the spokesperson said.
The apparent change in rhetoric from high-ranking Thai officials coincided with the influx of people fleeing from violence in Myanmar to Thailand.
Thousands of ethnic Karen had to leave their homes in the state of Karen after the army’s March 27 air raid on villages controlled by the Karen National Union (KNU) rebels, who hold Large territory in border areas with Thailand.
On Wednesday, Mr Prayuth said relevant agencies are helping displaced people by providing them with important food and medical supplies.
“In the past, there were also many cases where people were affected by fighting [in Myanmar] The military saved people by sending more people inside for medical treatment, ”said Prayuth.
According to Pornsuk Kerdsawang, from the Thai NGO Friends Without Borders, the Myanmar military on Monday allowed a cargo ship from Thailand to deliver aid goods across the border.
“On April 8, the Thai military will dispatch five vehicles to help transport goods from the Red Cross and deliver goods to those displaced. For us, we value this as a breakthrough in support, ”Pornsuk told BenarNews, an online news service under RFA.
Pornsuk said helicopters and drones were heard on Tuesday flying around the Myanmar border in the state of Karen. She said she worries that unrest along the border could threaten the local farmers’ rice crops.
“[I]If the situation persists, they will be in trouble. Because they can’t grow rice, they won’t have rice to eat, so we insist on our statement that we want the government’s support to take long-term solutions into account, ”Pornsuk said.
“Because even if the villagers of Myanmar [on the Myanmar side of the border] Getting the help people send in, it’s not a success – just a solution to the problems at hand. “
On April 2, Prayuth instructed all related aid agencies to provide medical and other assistance to about 1,200 people who had crossed the border to Thailand, a Thai government spokesman said. with reporters.
Earlier last week, human rights advocacy groups and refugees criticized the Thai prime minister for allegedly ordering the military to push refugees back to the border into their conflict-prone country.
Meanwhile, the Burmese army fired again at anti-coup protesters on Wednesday, killing at least 15 people and injuring some in the northwestern part of the country, news agencies reported.
According to the Thai NGO’s Association for Supporting Political Prisoners, the number of people killed in violence after the coup has reached at least 598.
In addition, the people of Myanmar are grappling with a shortage of food and other necessities after 65 days of military rule, their army steals goods and cash from vehicles and shops. and homes, residents told Radio Free Asia (RFA), to which BenarNews is linked.
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab (left) and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi discussed during a bilateral meeting in Jakarta on April 7, 2021. [Photo courtesy Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia]
FMs of Indonesia and UK meet
The continuing violence in Myanmar prompted Indonesia and the UK on Wednesday to reiterate the call to stop the violence.
“[I]ndonesia and the UK are horrified that hundreds of peaceful protesters have been killed in Myanmar, ”said the British statement after a meeting between the two foreign ministers in Jakarta.
“Both countries agree on the importance of ASEAN as a preeminent regional institution and an important part of the rules-based international system to find acceptable solutions based on will. and the interests of the Myanmar people. ”
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said she and her British counterpart, Dominic Raab, had discussed how the UK and the international community could support ASEAN’s efforts to help Myanmar resolve the turmoil there. .
Reported by BenarNews, an online news service affiliated with RFA.