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Navy defends their purchase of 2 new Chinese submarines

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“…disputes involving territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea have been ongoing, with major powers getting involved”

After coming under criticism over the weekend over the decision to go ahead with the purchase of 2 Chinese submarines, the Royal Thai Navy faced the media yesterday. The hashtag #PeopleSayNoToSubs has been trending since the budget allocation was passed by the subcommittee last Friday. Delivery of the first of the planned 3 submarines is expected in 2023.

The Navy are defending the planned purchase of the 2 additional submarines, valued at 22.5 billion baht from China, claiming that the criticism is partisan and is being used for political gain.

They compared the number of submarines in service, or being purchased by neighbouring nations to argue its need for a “strong submersible fleet”. Vietnam has 6, Indonesia has 5 and another 4 on the way, Malaysia has 2, Singapore has 4 with 4 on order. Even Myanmar has one.

The navy defended the purchase saying that it was transparent and the allocation will come from the navy’s budget, spread over 7 years. In yesterday’s media conference, the Navy also explained that the government instructed the navy to return some of its budget, some 4.13 billion baht, back to the government to support efforts to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.

The Navy denied a claim by a Pheu Thai MP that the Thai-Chinese government-to-government purchase contract was invalid. On Sunday Pheu Thai’s Yutthapong Jarassathian claimed that the contract is not a genuine government-to-government deal because the person who signed the contract, on behalf of Thailand, had no authority to represent the government. The Chinese company, which signed the contract, was also not representing the Chinese government.

Yutthapong claims that the Thai PM, or the foreign minister, can legally represent the government in such deals.

But Vice Adm Prachachart claims Yutthapong gave “false information” in order to score political points.

“We will not let politicians use false information to create hatred of the navy. Don’t politicise the issue. If you, politicians, run out of ideas to fight against the government, just look for others, but don’t use the submarine issue.”

The vote to go ahead with the purchase of the additional 2 submarines last Friday was tied at 4 votes on each side. The Chairperson of the sub-committee had to cast a deciding vote.

The Navy conceded that, although major wars are unlikely to break out anytime soon in the region, “disputes involving territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea have been ongoing, with major powers getting involved”.

Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon said yesterday that there had been no lobbying to get the2 submarines approved by the panel.

Following the Navy’s media gathering, a Pheu Thai spokesman dismissed the navy’s explanation as being “of no consequence” and said the party would not step back from the issue.

Navy defends their purchase of 2 new Chinese submarines | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Bangkok Post

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    August 25, 2020 at 10:48 am

    Mmmm, not authorised to buy – not authorised to sell?
    Some deals done between agents who are not really authorised.
    I smell something fishy here, which is what is expected when dealing with submarines.

  2. Avatar

    Preesy Chepuce

    August 25, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Chinese submarines sold to the Thai navy to respond to disputes in the Champa Sea (“South China Sea”)… US should be watching this and doing something about China’s attempts at subversion of Thailand, Cambodia, and Philippines.
    Thailand has no claims there, along with Cambodia, is China trying to buy allies for its imperialist-expansionisf agenda?
    China appears to be using the pandemic as cover for land grabbing, and loansharking. Could China achieve what Japan failed to in WW2?

    • Avatar

      Daniel

      August 25, 2020 at 5:44 pm

      Thailand is not in war with anyone as it has not been for ages. No threat in view. What do the Navy need submarines for? Just to make the admirals happy? Sure why not. But they should take the 22.5 billion baht out of their own pocket. See how they’d like that.

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Charter vote delayed, committee formed and Senators escape Parliament by boat – VIDEO

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Charter vote delayed, committee formed and Senators escape Parliament by boat – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Protesters gather outside the Thai parliament - Tanaporn Choopanya

Thailand’s MPs and Senators have kicked the constitutional can down the road at least a month after the parliament failed to agree on charter amendments. A panel will be sent up to examine 6 motions that were proposed and debated over the past 2 days. Meanwhile, up to 2,000 protesters were gathered outside the unfinished parliamentary buildings as an act of solidarity for the MPs supporting the changes to the current Thai Constitution.

The reality of the vote, and the setting up of an investigative committee, could push any votes on real reform well into 2021.

The 2 Houses of Parliament voted 431-255 to delay the vote. Opposition Pheu Thai and Move Forward MPs stormed out and missed the opportunity of nominating anyone to the new 45 member parliamentary committee to examine the motions, whilst the remaining members chose members for the committee. Move Forward Party’s, Pita Limjaroenrat, described the vote as “a way to stall for time” complaining that the decision “was moving the country towards a dead end”.

It was not known how the NCPO hand-picked Senators would vote on the bills. Many were thought to side with the idea of constitutional reform but the reality was that, in most scenarios, they’d be voting themselves out of a job if any reforms went ahead. Thailand’s entire upper house is a military-appointed rump of conservative former businesspeople and Army officials, mostly men.

Charter vote delayed, committee formed and Senators escape Parliament by boat - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

The protesters viewed the afternoon’s proceedings as a blunt stalling tactic to keep the current parliament, and its unelected senators, in power. The session ran until 8.30 last night. Rather than face the angry mob of anti-government protesters at the front of the building, most of the senators escaped on boat at the rear of the building, which backs onto Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River.

The demonstrators, with a consistent theme of reform over 3 months of rallies, are demanding changes to the current constitution because it was drafted by the NCPO who kicked out the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014.

The protesters specifically point to the NCPO-appointed senate and the power they wield to elect the country’s prime minister, even though none of them were elected (nor was Prayut Chan-o-cha).

Protesters say they will now organise the next lot of rallies in October. Meanwhile, the Parliament is now is recess.

PROTESTSLive scenes from today’s protest rally to lend their voices, albeit from outside the The Parliament, to the debates inside about amendments to the Thai Constitution. The Thai parliament buildings are unfinished and, so it seems, are the student and anti-government protesters.

Posted by The Thaiger on Thursday, September 24, 2020

 

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Politics

Deputy PM says “Big Joke” transfer not necessarily unlawful

Maya Taylor

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Deputy PM says “Big Joke” transfer not necessarily unlawful | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam says former immigration chief, Surachate Hakparn, shouldn’t assume his transfer to an inactive post in the PM’s Office was unlawful. Surachate, known by the nickname “Big Joke” (given to him by Thai media) headed up Thailand’s Immigration Bureau until he was unceremoniously side-lined by the PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha last year.

It’s understood he is now planning to sue the PM, claiming that the lack of any investigation against him shows there were no grounds for the transfer. His lawyer, Sitthi Ngarmlamyuang, says other officers transferred to the PM’s Office have since been re-instated, after being cleared of any wrongdoing. He insists his client deserves the same, pointing out that in the 1 year and 5 months since his transfer, there has been no investigation against him.

For his part, Deputy PM Wissanu says Surachate has the right to sue the PM if he so wishes but shouldn’t assume his transfer is similar to that of former National Security Council chief, Thawil Pliensri, who was transferred under former PM Ying­luck Shinawatra in 2011. The transfer was subsequently deemed unlawful by the Supreme Administrative Court.

The Bangkok Post reports that Wissanu doesn’t rule out the possibility of Surachate being re-instated, saying the PM’s Office should submit the issue for the PM’s consideration. For his part, Surachate claims his petitions to the PM have fallen on deaf ears.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Empire strikes back: Thai royalists oppose constitution changes

Caitlin Ashworth

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Empire strikes back: Thai royalists oppose constitution changes | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: Warong Dechgitvigrom

Just after proposed constitutional amendments, backed by pro-democracy supporters, were submitted to the Thai parliament, the Thai Pakdee royalist group filed a petition with 130,000 signatures saying they are against making changes to the constitution.

Pro-democracy activists have been demanding a rewrite of the Thai constitution at protests over the past few months. The nonprofit organisation Internet Law Reform Dialogue, known as iLaw, drafted amendments including one that would require all senators and local administrators to be elected. Currently Thailand’s entire Senate is hand-picked by the ruling party. More than 100,000 people back the proposed changes.

“There’s no need to make changes”, according to Former Democrat MP and leader of Thai Pakdee Warong Dechgitvigrom. He says the 2017 Constitution was approved by 16.8 million people (Thailand’s population is 69.4 million).

“Redoing the process would cost 15 billion baht in taxpayer money. On top of that, it would require 2 referenda and a general election.”

According to Thai PBS, 84 of the 250 senators need to be on board to move forward with revisions to the constitution. At the moment, around 60 of them are in favour of constitutional amendments while 100 oppose any changes and the rest are undecided. But Senators against the amendments might change their minds, according to Senate whip Sangsit Phiriyarangsan. He says he believes more senators will be in favour of making some amendments after hearing debates in parliament.

SOURCES: Thai PBS

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