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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    5 November 2012 

Thaksin's Myanmar visit only 'courtesy call'


Former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra will go on a three-day visit to Myanmar next week during which he will meet President Thein Sein, the ex-leader's legal adviser Noppadol Pattama said yesterday.

Thaksin will be in Myanmar from next Thursday to Saturday and will meet the president in Nay Pyi Taw upon arrival.
On Friday, Thaksin is scheduled to meet with some key Pheu Thai MPs and Thai businesspeople in Tachilek, which is directly across the border from Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district.

Noppadol told the media that Thaksin would first make merit at Shwedagon Pagoda on Saturday morning before meeting with his red-shirt supporters, adding that people were advised to spend the night on the Thai side of the border because accommodation is cheaper.

He also said Thaksin would not visit the Dawei deep-sea port as reported earlier, and that he was only paying a courtesy call to Thein Sein and would not discuss Dawei or other projects.

Noppadol said Thaksin would also not try to make any business deals with the president so the Thai government, led by his sister Yingluck Shinawatra, does not have any problems when trying to negotiate the deep-sea project with Myanmar.

Thaksin will be closest to Thailand when he visits Tachilek, he said, adding that the last time he was this close was when he visited Champasak in Laos. He also confirmed that Myanmar authorities had agreed to let Thaksin's supporters meet him at the border town.

However, Noppadol said, Thaksin would not be settling any differences that people might have for failing to win a Cabinet seat. He said the leader was only meeting with his supporters to discuss general matters.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul said he had no knowledge of Thaksin's plan to visit the neighbouring country, adding that he had not spoken to him for a while and that the Thai Embassy in Myanmar had not told him about the pending visit.

As for Thai-Myanmar cooperation on the deep-sea port project, Surapong said a team of six ministers, led by a vice president of Myanmar, would arrive in

Bangkok on Tuesday evening and attend an official meeting at Government House the following morning.

He added that two meetings, led by two different panels, would be held with the Myanmar team. The Myanmar-Thailand Joint High-Level Committee, jointly chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong and a Myanmar vice president, will hold the first meeting.

The second meeting will be held by the Myanmar-Thailand Joint Coordinating Committee, which is co-chaired by PM's Office Minister Nivatthamrong Boonsongpaisal and Myanmar’s industry minister.

After the meetings, Kittiratt will escort the Myanmar entourage to Laem Chabang deep-sea port so they can get an idea of how the Dawei port would be developed.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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