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German politician raises questions about the status of Thailand’s Head of State

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German politicians have raised questions in parliament about the status of Thailand’s Head of State as a part time resident in the state of Bavaria, after protests in Thailand have continued to make international news, drawing attention to Thailand and the Thai government’s fragile political situation.

Frithjof Schmidt, from Germany’s Green Party, has questioned the German Foreign Ministry about its position towards the protests in Thailand as well as possible EU economic sanctions against Thailand’s current government, which has drawn attention in the German parliament and the EU, including a previous boycott and cessation of some trade following the military coup in 2014.

Dr Frithjof Schmidt, Green Party

The European Union some time ago suspended negotiations on a free trade agreement with Thailand because of the junta’s behaviour. Following the announcement of elections, negotiations were resumed in order to promote this process of return to democracy.

Are you prepared to work now in this situation in the European Council to freeze these negotiations again as long as the junta continues to block the path to democracy in Thailand?

Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas

I do indeed think that this is an option that we are keeping open within the European Union. I think it is right to have a dialogue on this once again with the Thai side. We also have the opportunity because, as I believe, there is a great Thai interest in an agreement to this end, which is used as a means of exerting pressure.

The MP also alluded to the occasional presence of Thailand’s Head of State as a resident in Bavaria.

A history of freezing inter-government contracts has not been regarded as making any difference in the way Thailand’s government operates as free trade talks resumed even after Thailand returned to a ‘democracy’ in the 2019 general election, which saw the country remain under quasi-military rule with allegations of human rights violations and freedom of speech still being made by opposition groups.

And some direct quotes in the question time regarding Thailand’s monarch…

Dr Frithjof Schmidt, Green Party

“I have one more inquiry. The Thai king stays often and for a long time in Germany; he owns a villa here. That is in order. But he also conducts direct politics from Germany. Among other things, he has publicly banned his sister from running as the leading candidate for the main opposition party.

Why has the Federal Government tolerated for months this extremely unusual and, in my opinion, illegal behaviour by a foreign head of state to conduct politics from German soil?”

Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas

“We have made it clear that policy affecting the country of Thailand does not have to be taken from German soil. Also, I believe that there are many bizarre reports on what is taking place. But it is not in line with the view of the German Federal Government that – and this is different from what we had with Mr Navalny – guests in our country carry out their state business from here; we would always like to counteract this clearly.”

SOURCE: Prachatai

 

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Dirty Farang

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 8:22 pm

    “Frithjof Schmidt” – no one knows this guy here in Germany. He was cleaning dishes and toiles in the EU parlament in Brussels for years. Now he tries to get a voice in the German parlament.

    • Avatar

      LongTermFarang

      Monday, October 12, 2020 at 4:19 pm

      Your comment is indeed dirty and should be banned. Just because you do not all your parliament members don’t qualify you for such comments.

    • Avatar

      Somtam

      Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 12:38 am

      Dr. Frithjof Schmidt served as member of the European Parliament between 2004 and 2009. That you call this “cleaning dishes and toiles in the EU parlament in Brussels” speaks for itself.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 9:42 pm

    I hope this Thai head of state, who ever he is, has to endure 14 day in Quarantine visiting Germany as the Germans have to do entering Thailand.
    If not – why not?

    • Avatar

      Ian

      Monday, October 12, 2020 at 5:11 pm

      Do you really not know who is being referred to here? Only the King of Thailand.

    • Avatar

      James Pate

      Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 5:15 am

      Yes. HM the King self-isolated in a luxury hotel in Germany with his staff. This was news about 7 months ago.

    • Avatar

      Noneya Bidnizz

      Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 6:07 am

      Doesnt matter , The “ Head of State “ of Thailand is Already there , and HAS BEEN for MONTHS ! ——- Maybe Thailand is NOT so “ Covid Free“ as The Muppets will tell you, and THEY Belive Germany is REALLY better !! — Just ask the
      current POTUS, Ask tRump Himself , No Tests = No Covid ! — I think Prayut agrees !!!— ( Maybe the “ Head Of State “ and the muppets ALSO know !!! , Ya THINK ??? ) —— Germans ( and pretty much EVERYONE else CAN NOT go in to Thai now anyway ! ) No Matter WHAT “ Scheme“ Prayut & the muppets say. ( But Do Not worry , It will all change daily , same same , but Different ! )

      Even the CHINESE will not come ! ( Yet ! ) — The prices for the property/ businesses and belongings of the REAL WORKING THAI People and business owners( Much less deported / internationally stranded “filthy farangs“ and RICH expats and property / company owners who EMPLOY THAI WORKING PEOPLE AND PAY THAI TAXES ) have not dropped quite low enough yet , Be Patient , Chaoxhiang , Soon , VERY soon the Thai will starve and sell all to us for almost NOTHING ! —

      But , What I Want to Know , Will The Thai “ Head of State “ Also be FORCED into a “Government Approved“ ASQ HOTEL for 14 days upon returning to Thailand with sticks jammed up his nose almost daily , Then ,Pay For SCAM THAI COMPANY ONLY “ covid medical insurance “ wear a bracelet to let ALL who see him to believe & actually BELIEVE all the covid LIES and PROPAGANDA — “ He Will Kill US ALL if he come in my noodle shop !!!“ — and then , be CONSTANTLY tracked by government cell phone app ? — No “ Soapy“ For You I Think ! — ( At his own expense , of course, and can not even have a beer to pass the lonely time, Concubines NOT included with VERY expensive ASQ Gilded Prison Cell !!! ) — Not that it would really matter about the Baht to Him ( Her ? — LOL !!! ) — I`ll Bet NOT , He ( She ? ) Will Not be even “be asked“ for a large brown envelope to BUY the “privilege’s“ ! — ( Sorry , I will Just Donate the ` Tea Money“ of My Own Free Will) —

      I Pray For Thailand and Her People

      And I Pray That Prayut and the muppet show , som nam na , Mung Bpen Kwaai Dtuut —-

      I Think I am Now Excluded From The Kingdom Forever —

      Mai Bpen Rai , Lao Jo gan , taak khare Na , Khrap —-

      • Avatar

        Z

        Monday, October 19, 2020 at 1:00 pm

        Hahahahaha. QAnon much?

  3. Avatar

    Ling

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    “… with allegations of human rights violations and freedom of speech still being made by opposition groups.”

    He might have a point, but there is a German saying “People who sit in a glass house, shouldn’t throw stones.”
    How about we talk about the suppression of freedom of speech in Germany during the anti lockdown protests?

    • Avatar

      Somtam

      Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 12:33 am

      “suppression of freedom of speech in Germany during the anti lockdown protests?” Really? Can you be specific about this? For me (a German) this statement sounds like complete nonsense.

  4. Avatar

    Statue of Liberty

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 12:10 am

    Restore Democracy !! Liberate Thailand !!

  5. Avatar

    Ruediger

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 8:15 am

    As a German, it is my right to express an opinion about German politics. I consider it urgently necessary to refrain from threatening sovereign states (neither Thailand nor Russia). The German politicians’ overestimation of themselves is taking on strange forms. Germany and the European Union do not play anywhere near the leading role in the world, even if they believe so. And especially at this time it should be remembered that human rights and freedom of expression are currently more strongly respected in Thailand than in Germany. German politicians would do well to remain silent. Whoever disregards his own German Constitution should remain silent as a matter of principle.

    • Avatar

      J.C.

      Monday, October 12, 2020 at 11:43 pm

      You mention “freedom of expression” and “German politicians would do well to remain silent” in the same breath? The absolute cognitive dissonance required to make such a moronic statement…

    • Avatar

      Somtam

      Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 12:47 am

      Are you serious about your statement “that human rights and freedom of expression are currently more strongly respected in Thailand than in Germany”? Can you name facts to support this?

    • Avatar

      Mas

      Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 3:32 am

      He or she has been paid to post , troll , lol

  6. Avatar

    Daniel

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    Polititians should not mix with other countries affairs.

    Leave Thailand alone, leave Belarus alone, as they should have left Libia, Ucraine, Syria, etc alone… countries that were more or less prosperous and end up in civil war.

    Europeans, Americans, Russians: take care of your own countries and leave the others deal with their problems.

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Politics

Diplomatic spat between China and Australia, Chinese suspend economic dialogue

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Stock photo via Flickr

A diplomatic spat between China and Australia has the Communist State suspending all economic dialogue “indefinitely” between the 2 countries as of today. A statement by China’s National Development and Reform Commission detailed some of the reasoning behind the move, which is under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue.

“Recently, some Australian Commonwealth Government officials launched a series of measures to disrupt the normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia out of Cold War mindset and ideological discrimination.”

But the statement didn’t elaborate on what specific actions prompted the suspension, however, it most definitely signifies the growing tensions between the 2 countries. Back in 2018, Australia became the first country to ban the Chinese tech giant of Huawei from its 5G network. And, as Covid-19 ravaged the world, Australia called for an independent investigation into its origins. China responded by restricting trade between the nations.

Last December, Australia’s federal parliament granted veto power over foreign deals by states amid worsening diplomatic relations with China, which has handed down trade sanctions on Australian exports.

Australia, has also refused to sign agreements on directly participating in China’s new foreign policy initiative, which previously was agreed upon by Australia’s trade minister to cooperate with third-party countries in Belt and Road projects. In April, Canberra cancelled 2 of those projects struck by the state of Victoria, which prompted a warning from the Chinese embassy that bilateral ties would get worse. Just this week, Reuters reported that Australia was reviewing a 99 year lease of a northern port to a Chinese firm.

But Atilla Widnell, the managing director of Navigate Commodities says trade won’t be affected.

“We believe the iron ore trading relationship between Australia and China will remain ring-fenced in relation to current political tensions between the two nations. This is a co-dependent relationship whereby either party cannot survive without the other.”

Today has seen the Australian dollar nosedive, reaching as low as $ .7701 to the US dollar, compared to yesterday’s $.7747.

SOURCE: Reuters

 

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Drugs

Thammanat Prompow is cleared to continue serving as an MP and cabinet minister

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Deputy Agriculture Minister, and Palang Pracharat ‘fixer’, Thammanat Prompow, has been cleared by a Thai court to continue to hold office in Thailand despite his previous heroin trafficking charges in Australia in 1993.

The Court maintained that, as the case was tried in another country other than Thailand, his conviction has no bearing on his standing as a member of parliament in Thailand. That same standard doesn’t hold for foreigners who enter Thailand with foreign court convictions, which are used to deny them entry.

55 year old Thammanat Prompow (also spelt as Prompao) has now been cleared to continue serving the Cabinet of the Palang Pracharat coalition government.

Fending off a censure motion in the Thai parliament last year Mr. Thammanat claimed, amongst other things…

“The thing the police and authorities in the state of NSW said was 3.2 kilograms of heroin, it was flour.”

His claims differ from the lab tests conducted on behalf of the convicting Court by the Australian Government Analytical Laboratories who were asked to analyse 3 kilograms of white powder that had been seized as evidence in the cases. The analyst was Phillip McKay who tested for “colour and solubility, chromatography and spectrometry”.

The tests showed that the powder was “impure heroin hydrochloride and at 74% purity amounted to a touch over 2.3 kilograms of heroin”.

The Australian Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, both Fairfax Media papers, reported in 2019 that Mr. Thammanat had pleaded guilty and accepted a 6 year jail term for “conspiring to import heroin” from Bangkok to Sydney. After serving 4 years he was deported back to Thailand. At the time he had the name ‘Manat Bophlom’.

In 2019, Mr. Thammanat, then serving as an MP under the Prayut Chan-o-cha government, strenuously fended off a censure motion against him and denying the serious allegations against him.

Mr. Thammanat, despite his tenuous grip on the facts relating to his 1993 drug trial in Australia, has also been able to shake off his political past as an MP in the opposition Pheu Thai party.

In the 2014 general election he ran for a seat in the lower house as a Pheu Thai Party candidate, the party led by Yingluck Shinawatra. That election was declared “invalid’ when the NCPO, under the leadership of General Prayut Chan-o-cha, seized power in May, 2014. Thammanat was ordered to report to the military-led National Council for Peace and Order at the time. 4 years later he joined the Palang Pracharath Party.

Opposition MP Teeratchai Panthumas, from the Move Forward Party, noted the Thai constitution states that a person is unable to serve as an MP or a cabinet minister “if previously sentenced to jail for a drug-related offence”.

Pichai Naripthaphan, Pheu Thai’s deputy leader, is quoted in Thai Enquirer

“…having a person associated with drugs to hold on to a cabinet position is disgraceful. It shows the low level of standard in the current government and the country because this would not happen abroad.”

Two weeks ago it was rumoured that Thammanat Prompow would be given responsibility to oversee the government’s coordination of Covid services and programs in Thailand’s southern provinces.

The Democrat Party balked at the prospect, threatening to walk away from the government coalition. The government backed off from that idea and the Democrats re-affirmed their support to remain in the coalition.

SOURCE: Thai Enquirer | Sydney Morning Herald

 

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Myanmar

UN Security Council issues watered-down Myanmar statement

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PHOTO: UN Security Counciil meeting via Flickr - UN Women

The UN Security Council has issued 4 statements regarding the military coup in Myanmar and the resulting humanitarian crisis, including a new one yesterday. The statements call for an immediate end to violence in Myanmar, but the wording was reportedly heavily watered down in order to achieve approval from Russia and China.

The UK drew up the original Security Council declaration, but it was rejected without modification. The original draft reportedly gave full support for ASEAN to play a pivotal role in the resolution and pushed for an on-the-ground inspection within the Burmese borders. It also reiterated strong condemnation of any violence against peaceful civilian protesters and called on the military to practice restraint and cease violence.

China and Russia responded with their own declaration that was rejected by the majority of the UN security council.

After the ASEAN summit in Indonesia last week, where Southeast Asian leaders agreed to create an envoy to work with the Burmese military and reach a resolution, the follow-up UN Security Council meeting was called by Vietnam.

During the ASEAN summit, the UN Special Envoy to Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener had a private side meeting with Burmese junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing, and she gave a briefing on that long meeting to the Security Council.

Based in Bangkok, she is currently moving around Southeast Asia but has been unable as yet to get into Myanmar for first-person inspections, with the military denying her entry. Brunei made a proposal that the UN envoy travel together with the as-yet unappointed ASEAN envoy on a mission to Myanmar in the near future.

Meanwhile, the crisis in Myanmar rages on. The Burmese military and the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners offered contradictory figures and perspective on the civilian uprising and military crackdown. The military junta referred to rioters that took part in acts of terrorism and placed the figure at 258 people killed. AAPP calculated a much more widely accepted death toll estimate at 760 dead Burmese civilians, portrayed as mostly peaceful protestors and civilians.

SOURCE: The Australian | Reuters

 

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