New mouthpiece for gov’t to address Thai people on national security


BANGKOK, Jan 3 – The government will set up a tripartite spokesperson team to give more coherent information to the public on domestic security situation, Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha disclosed today.

He said the team, comprising civilians, police and military officers, will be responsible for creating better understanding among people on national security issues.

He was apparently hinting at concerns on the Thai-Cambodian dispute over the area surrounding Phra Viharn (Preah Vihear) temple which is pending a ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

He said the army had worked with the Foreign Ministry on the Phra Viharn issue from 1962 until 2008 when the border dispute erupted.

The government’s policy is to avoid conflict with neighbouring countries, he said, adding that the army has assigned personnel from the Second Army Region to patrol near Phra Viharn temple together with the Border Patrol Police.

As the legal procedure in the ICJ is underway,Thailand and Cambodia continue to discuss and work together in compliance with the Court’s order, requiring that the two countries withdraw their military personnel from the Provisional Demilitarised Zone (PDZ) surrounding Phra Viharn temple.

The armies of both countries have to brief their respective governments on the latest border developments, while both parties agreed to urgently demine the border area near the temple, Gen Prayuth said.

He said there should be ways to get third parties and the ICJ to understand Thailand and Cambodia, while the two countries should be able to hold bilateral discussions and live together without border fighting in the future.

“Whoever is the government or in charge of security, the nation comes first. Everybody hopes for national security without war. The military is responsible for protecting the territory in accord with the government’s policy,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said on Tuesday that he was most concerned that the ICJ ruling, if unfavourable to Thailand, may lead to undesirable actions by some Thai people.