Cabinet expected to let NASA use U-tapao airbase

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BANGKOK, 25 June 2012 -Science and Technology Minister Mr. Prodprasob Surasawadi has revealed in his statement that the Cabinet will consider giving NASA permission tomorrow to use U-tapao military airfield to run the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR). 

According to Mr. Prodprasob, the research team, who has been tasked with providing the Cabinet their assessment on the NASA mission in Thailand, has assured that their operation is to study the weather and natural disasters.

In addition, the security unit has also given the Cabinet their confidence that the US airspace organization has no intention of using the airport for military purposes or covert operations.

The legal team, Mr. Prodprasob said, has also affirmed that the US request does not involve Thai sovereignty and, therefore, does not require parliamentary approval under Section 190 of the Constitution which stipulates that international treaties and agreements must first be approved by Parliament.

The Science and Technology Minister said later that this would be an opportunity for Thailand to gain corporation from NASA in sending Thai astronauts to the space within 5 years.

Meanwhile, the clarification with the Chinese ambassador to Thailand has been made to assure that China is aware of the reasons for NASA to use the military airbase for environmental reasons and not for the benefits of the US military.