Government welcomes NASA project on Thai soil

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BANGKOK, Oct 4 – Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat affirmed today that Thailand is willing to permit the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to use U-tapao military airport in Rayong as a springboard for climate studies.

He said an agreement on the studies, which will last three months, will be disclosed to the public, adding that he is ready to explain it to Thai public for better understanding.

Brushing aside an earlier report that China opposed the NASA project in Thailand, the defence minister said the US space agency had once conducted similar studies from a base  in China with the cooperation of Chinese scientists.

“Other countries which NASA aircraft will fly over, such as Cambodia, never complained but we are so disturbed [by it],” he said.

NASA called off the climate studies at U-tapao airport earlier this year after Thailand failed to approve the project.

The NASA project returned to the limelight again in a parliamentary no-voting debate on Tuesday.