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Ambassador calls US “better friend” than China

Jack Burton

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Ambassador calls US “better friend” than China | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand
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“Nobody will have to take sides.”

US Ambassador to Thailand Michael George DeSombre said in an exclusive interview with Nation Thailand that the US spat with China won’t affect relations in the region and nations will not have to take sides. He expects more American companies to invest in the Kingdom in the coming months and years, and reiterated that the US is a “better friend” to Thailand and to other ASEAN countries.

Some regional leaders have voiced concern about the growing tensions between the two largest economies, and worry that this feud may force them to take sides. DeSombre responded, invoking political tones, saying that Washington, “for the first time in a long time, is seeing China for what it is, not as we hope it should be”.

The US has threatened sanctions on China for imposing what Washington sees as an unfair national security law in Hong Kong.

“So, we see challenges coming out of China and are addressing them directly. Obviously, that creates more tension, instead of ignoring the problems that have been created by the previous administration.”

“But at the end of the day, we are not asking anyone to choose between the US and China. And as I said, we view ourselves as a better friend. If you want to be friends with other countries, with China, that’s fine. But we view ourselves as a better friend and will continue to demonstrate that particularly here in Thailand.”

Asked if the 2 countries will ever find common ground or come to a compromise, DeSombre said there are already some areas that the two countries will continue cooperating on.

“And we look forward to China increasing the number of areas where we do have common ground. Unfortunately, that’s not happening much. But we are encouraging them to do so.”

“But we do have a trade deal for example, and we are looking forward to them implementing the “phase one trade deal,” which is a good example of finding common ground, given the other challenging situations.”

While some observers argue that the US has taken a tough stance against China because the US presidential elections are approaching, DeSombre dismissed this notion.

“You should ask China whether the presidential election had anything to do with their decision to suddenly impose the national security law in Hong Kong. That is their choice, not ours.”

“Also, I think various activities in the South China Sea, such as militarising islands, sinking Vietnamese fishing vessels among others… those were not our decisions.”

Asked if he is concerned about the impact the tensions will have on ASEAN-China and ASEAN-US ties, he said he was not concerned about that, but was worried about other pressing issues.

“One area that we see some concerns about is China’s actions that are contributing to drought here in Thailand, such as controlling the flow of water in the Mekong River, and failing to stop precursor chemicals from going to Myanmar, which is allowing massive production of methamphetamine, which is flowing into Thailand. These are our concerns.”

Regarding the slowdown of the global economy, DeSombre said he sees an opportunity in the crisis.

“There’s always an opportunity in crises, and that is where my discussions with the Thai government have really focused on: using this opportunity to move company operations to Thailand.”

“In the last couple of years, we have seen a lot of companies getting concerned about their supply chain, where their manufacturing is located and whether or not they can get the product from that location to where they want to sell them. So, you have a lot of companies looking at, reevaluating their location for manufacturing.”

He added that this presents a great opportunity to Thailand, because it’s “a safe, reliable, secure location for operation.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Sam Thompson

    May 30, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    Well he would say that, wouldn’t he? In terms of trade, economics, politics, geography, culture, tourism and proximity and population…there is simply, no contest..China wins out every time

  2. Avatar

    ken jones

    May 30, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    Fair reporting for once not biased. We are about the people not the goverement. Unfortunetley with 9 duly elected Democracy’s since 1973 all Thai citizens have been exiled out of theit own country. ( times. The trinity at all cost does not want their power diminished. At all cost. America for their own reasons yes selfish has buit a lot of infrastrucure in Thailand since the late sixties and has always left and given that to the country of Thailand I could name three airpoets two cities but I won’t. I find it extremely unbearable and dissapointing that a person who’s provate airplane was confiscatd in England for over two years because of dubious actions went on National TV and in a sombering mood expressed deep regret for the pain and loss of life that China had at that time experienced because of the whuhan virus. Yet thousands of other people worldwide have met a greater face by individual nations Americ now 1000000 dead and yet the white powder person says nothing. Simply implorable and disgusting maybe a new leatinant female general needs to be brought into the royal palace.

    • Avatar

      Michael Lewis

      May 30, 2020 at 5:31 pm

      The US built nothing here for Thailand since the sixties. They did build some roads for the US military transport of mass destruction war materials that they used against Thailands neighbours in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. As for cities, do you really think that a few streets full brothels offering under age trafficed prostitutes is a city. All Thai cities were here before the illegal Vietnam war started. The US gives nothing unless it is paid for in kind.

  3. Avatar

    Michael Lewis

    May 30, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    DeSombre and his US nation have clearly openned our eyes since 2016 exposing a nation of US thugs that is determined to be the master dictator of the world. Those countries that refuse to obey this dictatorship will be threatened with financial destruction and/or military destruction. China is the word for future world peace and prosperity, US is the word for war, destruction and future poverty in this world.

  4. Avatar

    Clyde James

    May 30, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    The dream of economic prosperity and modernization based on the pictures painted by the CCP are enticing many political leaders to sign agreements that bind them ever closer to CCP influence and control. The question is whether the dream will match reality.
    Many countries are finding that they have become indebted to an evil political party that rules ruthlessly. Welcoming large investments by foreign companies, banks, and holding companies that are serving as fronts for the CCP has bankrupt native business owners who can not compete with CCP networks. By controlling tourism, transportation, hotels, accommodations, and hardware and dry good markets the CCP government gains control (ownership) of the means of production and the distribution goods and services. These my friends are the definition of communism. As the Thai saying goes “Beware of raising a baby tiger, for when it grows up it will eat you”.
    Look to the youth of Hong Kong for insight, do not let this happen to Thailand. Do not sell your souls to the devil.
    Please note that nothing that has been stated above is an inflection on Chinese people, for they suffer greatly under the CCP’s crushing fist. China and its people will offer great hope and prosperity to the world when if ever they throw off the enslaving yoke of the CCP communist dictatorship and join the free capitalistic democracies of the world.

  5. Avatar

    Clydel James

    May 30, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    The dream of economic prosperity and modernization based on the pictures painted by the CCP are enticing many political leaders to sign agreements that bind them ever closer to CCP influence and control. The question is whether the dream will match reality.
    Many countries are finding that they have become indebted to an evil political party that rules ruthlessly. Welcoming large investments by foreign companies, banks, and holding companies that are serving as fronts for the CCP has bankrupt native business owners who can not compete with CCP networks. By controlling tourism, transportation, hotels, accommodations, and hardware and dry good markets the CCP government gains control (ownership) of the means of production and the distribution goods and services. These my friends are the definition of communism. As the Thai saying goes “Beware of raising a baby tiger, for when it grows up it will eat you”.
    Look to the youth of Hong Kong for insight, do not let this happen to Thailand. Do not sell your souls to the devil.
    Please note that nothing that has been stated above is an inflection on Chinese people, for they suffer greatly under the CCP’s crushing fist. China and its people will offer great hope and prosperity to the world when if ever they throw off the enslaving yoke of the CCP communist dictatorship and join the free capitalistic democracies of the world.

    • Avatar

      Marty

      June 1, 2020 at 12:28 pm

      Spot on Clydel , it’s a matter of TRUST , CCP has Non of that with human rights violations, communism authoritarian secret regime who’s agenda is to control the world can never be Trusted, Nothing against their citizens

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Economy

Thai nightlife grapples with “new normal”

Jack Burton

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Thai nightlife grapples with “new normal” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: People.com

Thailand’s nightlife scene is grappling with a ‘new normal’ as changes upon its recent reopening see facemasks joining the normal bikini wear in red-light districts across the Kingdom.

After being forced to close for more than 3 months in order to stop the spread of Covid-19,bars, karaoke venues and massage parlours are in the latest category of businesses allowed to reopen under new conditions, now that Thailand has gone more than a month without any community transmission of the virus.

The reopening means a return to work for hundreds of thousands of people in the nightlife industry who have struggled to survive. “Bee,” a 27 year old dancer, who goes by her stage name at the XXX Lounge in the Patpong district, said:

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All customers must have their temperature taken before entering, and must give a name and telephone number or register with the Thai Chana app. Inside, everybody must sit at least one metre apart, and 2 metres from the stage. But one British expatriate questioned the need:

“You can take a BTS train in the morning with 200 people on a packed train but then you come into a bar and still have to sit 2 metres apart.”

The government has staggered the reopening of public places over several weeks with schools, colleges and universities officially resuming yesterday.

Despite a low death toll (58 out of 3,173 infections- a relatively low number even within the region), Thailand’s economy is expected to sink further than any other in Southeast Asia, with the number of foreign tourists expected to drop 80% or more this year.

At the Dream Boy club in Bangkok’s Patpong Soi 1, bare-chested men with face shields tried to entice the few passersby off the street, but many businesses remain shut and those who have opened are only seeing a few customers.

“There are bars all over Bangkok that have been open for 10 to 15 years and now they are closed and they are not coming back.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Economy

Thai Airways to shed only 5% of employees, while appointing new president

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thai Airways to shed only 5% of employees, while appointing new president | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

Debt-ridden Thai Airways has confirmed that it will only shed 5% of its 20,000 employees as part of its reorganisation. The former president of the carrier’s labour union says he met with the rehab panel, along with union and airline staff representatives, with the panel now aiming to cut only 5% of the airline’s workforce-down from the initial target of 30%. He says some redundant staff members will be shifted to departments that need more workers.

The airlines’ board held the meeting yesterday which also saw the appointment of board member Chansin Treenuchagorn, as the new acting president. Chansin was formerly the president of the state-owned oil and gas conglomerate PTT, and joined the board last month. They also accepted the acting president’s resignation from his post. Despite stepping down, former president Chakkrit Parapuntakul will continue as the company’s second vice-chairman.

The national flag carrier filed for rehabilitation with the Central Bankruptcy Court on May 26 and the court accepted the petition the next day. The court is expected to hear the case on August 17.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Nightlife operators warned: follow the rules or face closure

Jack Burton

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Nightlife operators warned: follow the rules or face closure | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Tripzilla

Bangkok police have issued a stern warning to nightlife venue operators… follow the rules or be closed again. National police chief Chaktip Chaijinda has instructed officers to make sure entertainment venue operators comply with disease control regulations and that both service providers and customers understand the “new normal.”

The warning comes after a meeting of senior city police, the Health Department of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, and more than 200 entertainment venue operators, in which they were briefed on regulatory compliance in the fifth phase of lockdown relaxations. He said entertainment venues that fail to adopt the safety regulations will be warned, and if they refuse to comply, will be ordered to suspend their operations.

Dararat Matkham, a restaurant and karaoke operator, said she’s relieved nightlife venues are being allowed to reopen, and has already put in place public health safety practices – she’s provided sanitiser gel for customers and microphones will be cleaned regularly, although customers are being advised to bring their own microphones. She says her premises will place tables in accordance with social distancing rules.

Somwang Chuenhathai, a “soapy massage” operator says his business has made it mandatory for masseuses to wear face shields or masks while working, and his premises will be cleaned before and during opening hours.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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