The Irrawaddy

Burmese Military Chief Receives Top Thai Honor

Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, right, receives the Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Crown of Thailand, in Bangkok on May 28, 2013. (Photo: New Light of Myanmar)

The commander-in-chief of Burma’s armed forces, Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, has received one of Thailand’s highest honors, according to Burmese state-run media.

The award, the Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Crown of Thailand, was presented to Burma’s top general at a ceremony in Bangkok on Tuesday, The New Light of Myanmar reported.

According to the report, the award was conferred on Min Aung Hlaing by the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army, Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn.

The award was given for promoting “friendship between the two armed forces of Myanmar and Thailand,” said the report.

The order of the Crown of Thailand was established in 1869 by King Rama V and is awarded to the royalty, government employees and foreign dignitaries for their outstanding services to Thailand.

The Knight Grand Cross is the first of the seven noble classes.

Min Aung Hlaing is currently in Bangkok meeting with top personnel of the Royal Thai Army and high-ranking officials of the King’s consultative council to discuss the two countries’ friendship and stability, state media reports.

Min Aung Hlaing, who replaced former junta leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe as commander-in-chief more than two years ago, also visited Thailand in 2012 to discuss border security with Thai Defense Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapha.

Besides security issues, Min Aung Hlaing has also held talks with Thailand on the deep-sea port and industrial zone in Dawei, which Thai developers are hoping to turn into the largest project of its kind in Southeast Asia.

In addition to plans to open more border checkpoints to connect the Dawei project in southern Burma’s Tenasserim Division to Thailand’s industrial heartland, the two sides have also discussed efforts to resolve long-standing ethnic conflicts in Burma’s border areas, which continue to impede on the progress of joint projects.