​Thailand Is Stable After Coup, General Says

Visiting Thai General Tanasak Patimapragorn on Monday assured Cambodia that his country was stable despite a military coup in May, according to Defense Minister Tea Banh.

Gen. Tanasak, who was on a one-day visit to Cambodia on Monday, serves as deputy chief of security affairs for the National Council for Peace and Order, which has been ruling Thailand since the military takeover.

Defense Minister Tea Banh, right, greets Thai General Tanasak Patimapragorn prior to a meeting at the Ministry of Defense in Phnom Penh on Monday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Defense Minister Tea Banh, right, greets Thai General Tanasak Patimapragorn prior to a meeting at the Ministry of Defense in Phnom Penh on Monday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“Mr. Tanasak told me that he wanted to make sure to avoid accusations that the military coup was [only] for power,” Gen. Banh told reporters following their morning meeting at the Defense Ministry in Phnom Penh.

“Mr. Tanasak explained to us what happened in Thailand and that the situation there now is stable.”

According to media reports, the Thai junta has been clamping down on free speech, censoring media and detaining citizens in an effort to identify members and supporters of the political party it toppled.

Rumors that the Thai military was rounding up Cambodian mi­grant workers in the wake of the coup drove more than 200,000 mostly undocumented laborers back to Cambodia, though many have begun returning to Thailand since both countries took steps to make it easier for them to work abroad legally.

During a meeting with Gen. Tanasak on Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Hun Sen requested that Thailand continue to ease the way for Cambodians seeking work across the border, according to Eang Sophalleth, an assistant to Mr. Hun Sen.

Mr. Sophalleth said the two men also agreed to promote development along the border.

“Mr. Hun Sen told Mr. Tanasak that we should push for a peaceful and friendly border, and cooperate to develop the border,” he said.

Gen. Banh said that he and Gen. Tanasak did not discuss a 2013 ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordering Thai forces to immediately withdraw from around the Preah Vihear temple.

Thailand and Cambodia both claim land adjacent to the border-hugging temple and in recent years have fought several brief but deadly skirmishes over control of the area.

Gen. Tanasak did not speak to lo­cal media after either meeting.

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