Ij reportika Logo

Thailand ready for any scenario on Myanmar border, foreign minister says

Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has discouraged Myanmar’s junta from further violence In the border region after the army lost a major border town, the Thai foreign minister said Friday.

Allied rebel forces, including the Karen National Union, captured a final junta battalion in Kayin state’s Myawaddy on Thursday morning, effectively gaining control of the city and causing thousands to flee into the border region. 

“We have sent a message to the [State Administration Council], as a matter of fact, that we do not want to see violence there,” Thai Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara said at a press conference in Mae Sot on Friday afternoon. “We are also talking to ASEAN by way of statement, as well, but certainly to get everyone back on track to the five-point consensus,” he said, referring to the 2021 plan which included a call for a ceasefire and dialogue between all parties in Myanmar.

The allied rebel’s capture has caused neighboring Thailand’s armed forces to deploy soldiers alongside Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridges, which regulate both people and goods and connect Myanmar’s Myawaddy to Thailand’s Mae Sot. Thailand is prepared to accommodate four different affected groups, the foreign minister said. 

This includes junta soldiers, 200 of which could be seen on Thursday and Friday, sheltering in northern Myawaddy near Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge No. 2.

“At this point, there is no indication yet that they want to cross over,” Parnpree said. “For Thailand, we have no issue addressing any type of entry into the country on a strictly humanitarian basis.”

Thailand allowed 600 junta personnel, including soldiers and their families, to be sent back to Myanmar through Mae Sot by plane on Sunday.

In the event further conflict erupts, Thai nationals living near the border would be given shelter and access to necessities, while preparations have been made and assistance provided to Myanmar nationals to escape to safety, he continued. 

According to the Karen Department for Health and Welfare, fighting in Myawaddy district has displaced 2,000 new people into Thailand’s Tak border province. These people are in need of food, shelter and medicine, a spokesperson said. About 30 people have been injured, but the number of casualties is still unknown.

Edited by Mike Firn and Elaine Chan.