Thailand will hold discussions with the United States on security issues this month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, according to its new Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.
(Bloomberg) — Thailand will hold discussions with the United States on security issues this month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, according to its new Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.
Srettha, who was elected prime minister in August after a three-month political impasse, said on Monday that his first overseas trip will be to attend the UNGA from the third week of September.
Srettha is only due to take his oath before King Maha Vajiralongkorn on Tuesday and is busy finalizing his government’s policy priority to be presented to the parliament in the coming days. The premier said at the weekend that he’ll take on the finance minister post.
Given his tight schedule, Srettha said he’ll skip the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Jakarta this week. At his UNGA trip, the premier said Thailand’s newly-appointed chief of defense forces has scheduled talks with the US on security issues and will be joining him. He didn’t elaborate on those issues in his remarks to reporters in Bangkok.
The Thai premier said he met with military leaders on Sunday to hear their thoughts as he aims to bridge the divide between the country’s army and the public that’s grown wider in the near-decade of military-backed rule.
The PM said he wants to help improve communications and bring the military closer to the people, adding that the military “has done many good things” at the same time, the “there are no clear elaborations on some problems in the past.”
Srettha’s latest comments signal the shifting dynamics in the ruling party after aligning with conservative politicians to win the top job. His meeting with defense forces also came days after caretaker Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha made key appointments in the armed forces.
Pheu Thai, a party supported by Thaksin Shinawatra’s family, previously vowed not to work with groups that supported the military-backed establishment of Prayuth that undermined election victories of Thaksin, and later, of his sister.
Thaksin, who ended his 15-year exile last month, received a royal pardon on Sept. 1, with the Thai king reducing the former premier’s jail term to one year.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.