Tight Security Ahead of APEC Meet in Thailand
By The Bangkok Post and The Irrawaddy 27 October 2022
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the National Security Council (NSC) to ensure safety measures are in place for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit being held in the capital next month.
Speaking after chairing an NSC meeting on Wednesday, Prayut stressed the cooperation of security officials, police, military and Bangkokians to ensure safety as the city plays host.
Prayut also stressed the importance of APEC 2022 as it will run under the concept of “Open. Connect. Balance” which will benefit the country.
“Now, it is considered an important step for Thailand to be accepted by foreign countries which will further allow the nation to benefit from investments and tourism among others,” said Prayut.
“In this regard, I implore everyone to keep our country safe and prevent any incidents from affecting the event as it will hamper the progress of our country.”
In a defense council meeting chaired by Prayut, attendees agreed to closely monitor political activists and violent groups that may use the event to negatively impact the country’s image.
The National Intelligence Agency will run a war room to ensure the flow of information with the help of the Special Branch Bureau, Army Military Intelligence Command and the armed forces security center.
To ensure security, deputy defence spokesman Jittanat Punnotok said that the police and the army have been instructed to tighten security at their weapon storages.
Security forces have also been ordered to carry out drills to ready themselves so they can promptly respond to an unexpected incident, Jittanat said.
Meanwhile, NSC secretary-general Supoj Malaniyom said a security and traffic subcommittee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, reported that there have so far been no situations of concern.
The meeting also agreed on preventive measures to handle unexpected incidents and uncertain circumstances including providing escorts for VIP persons during the APEC meeting, Supoj said.
In addition, the meeting acknowledged the escalated tensions in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Taiwan Strait and ongoing unrest in Myanmar. The country’s monitoring of these situations will be intensified so to allow a prompt response to any future developments that may affect the country.
“Thailand will take a firm stand to encourage each party to solve matters through peaceful negotiation in accordance with international laws and the Charter of the United Nations,” said Supoj.
Regarding the unrest in Myanmar, Thailand has stringently abided by standard operation procedures (SOPs) in providing humanitarian assistance based on legal and international obligations.
Since the coup in Myanmar, thousands of Myanmar activists have fled to neighboring countries including Thailand. Myanmar authorities have approached Thai authorities to repatriate some well-known figures.
In September, Miss Grand International Myanmar 2020 Han Lay was denied entry at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.
On March 27 last year, after the February coup, she appealed to the media in Thailand, where she had been competing in a beauty pageant, for international help to rescue Myanmar from the regime.
Since then she has been living in Thailand and speaking out against the regime. On September 18 she left for Vietnam for a visa renewal and was detained at the Thai airport on her return. It is believed that her passport was revoked. Many prominent Myanmar activists, politicians, media professionals and former government officials and businesspeople live in Thailand and are taking refuge along the border.