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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Government steps up APEC security measures amid Russia-Ukraine conflict

The government has acknowledged concerns over the possibility of the Russia-Ukraine conflict jeopardizing Thailand’s hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit 2022 in November.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said it is still unclear whether the planned APEC meeting will take place and how it will be conducted, noting that it could be determined by the outcome of the Black Sea conflict.

According to the prime minister, Thailand should first focus on organizing other APEC 2022 meetings earlier in the year.

Thailand’s defense chief, Gen Chalermpol Srisawat, has directed the armed forces and national police to prepare a security plan to address any potential security threats, including acts of terrorism. The order was issued at a meeting of the armed forces and the national police on Tuesday (15 Mar).

The Russian ambassador to Thailand Evgeny Tomikhin on Tuesday invited a selected group of Thai media to listen to Russia’s rhetoric justifying its invasion of Ukraine. 

Tomikhin said he appreciates that the current stance of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s administration is now neutral, despite voting to condemn Russia’s invasion at the UN General Assembly earlier this month.

“We appreciate the balanced position of the Royal Thai government. We discussed very openly [with the Thai Foreign Ministry]. We appreciate that our Thai partners are ready to hear what we are saying,” he said, adding that the Thai government eventually chose a neutral stance “despite huge pressure” exerted by the West.

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