Thai, Laotian militaries ink border-cooperation pact in Pattaya

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Armies from Thailand and Laos will work together to curtail drug and human trafficking, smuggling of stolen vehicles and illegal logging along their mutual border.

Lt. Gen. Witsanu Sriyapan, director-general of Thai Border Military Affairs, and Gen. Bualiang Champaphan, deputy chief of staff for the Lao People’s Army, signed the border cooperation agreement July 21 at the Montien Hotel in Pattaya. Representatives met a day later in Ubon Ratchathani to work out operational details of the accord.

Military officials, led by Lt. Gen. Witsanu Sriyapan, director-general of Thai Border Military Affairs, and Gen. Bualiang Champaphan, deputy chief of staff for the Lao People’s Army (both seated, center) pose for a commemorative photo after the meeting. Military officials, led by Lt. Gen. Witsanu Sriyapan, director-general of Thai Border Military Affairs, and Gen. Bualiang Champaphan, deputy chief of staff for the Lao People’s Army (both seated, center) pose for a commemorative photo after the meeting.

The agreement set the stage for joint border patrols by army personnel from both sides. More cooperation was also urged on curtailing drug imports from Laos and recovering cars and motorbikes stolen in Thailand from being smuggled into Laos. It will also allow authorities from each side to arrest nationals of the other country engaged in illegal logging.

Bualiang said the agreement will bring peace and cooperation to the Thai-Laotian border, benefitting residents of each country.

The Pattaya meeting, the second of the year, attracted top brass from Thailand’s military establishment, including Col. Kosit Chinwalan, assistant Army ambassador to Vientiane, Capt. Supapat Yutthawong of the Royal Thai Navy’s operations center, and officials from Thailand’s embassy in Vientiane, and the ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs.