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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 Thaiger

PHOTO: Bangkok Post

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Tuesday, 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

    Tuesday, 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

      Tuesday, 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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