Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kasit's remarks on border unconvincing

via CAAI

Published on January 30, 2011

Dear Sir:

Regarding "PAD acting like a cry baby: Kasit" (January 27, 2011) Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya criticises his former allies the PAD yellow shirts for their calling for a tougher line by the government on the Preah Vihear border dispute with Cambodia and claims that he hasn't changed his position since the time before he became a minister. He also says it is "inappropriate to invoke international relations as a bargaining leverage to advance a domestic political agenda". He also calls for common development of "rich resources in the sea," presumably referring to oil and gas deals.
Actually, your story is an example of the reason why the PAD

has been criticising Mr Kasit

and the Abhisit government.

Mr Kasit says that he has not changed and that "The Abhisit Vejjajiva government is not prone to use force nor to insult the neighbouring country" but in 2009, he himself was quoted as calling Hun Sen "a nakleng." In 2008, he was quoted as calling him a "thug" on the rally stage of the PAD.

The PAD has a legitimate criticism of the way the border issue has been handled by the government since a previous foreign minister signed the notorious UNESCO MOU which led to that person's resignation. In 2008, a Thai court ruled that the bid to support Cambodia's application to have the 11th century temple listed as a World Heritage site was unconstitutional. So, the PAD has been right about this issue all along.

Also, regarding Mr Kasit's reference to "rich resources in the sea," this is what the PAD has been criticising the government for as trading off the Preah Vihear temple and border case due to interest in oil and gas deals.

In your article, Mr Kasit is quoted as saying "Integrity hinges on prudence and maturity; don't act like a baby and allow feelings to cloud judgement," however his own comments about the PAD lacking maturity, being "petulant" and a "cry baby" are not exactly mature.

Khun Sondhi and his followers are citizens of this country and have the right to question the government's leadership and policies. Khun Sondhi always speaks by producing facts, maps, quotes, and information. Mr Kasit offers no proof that the PAD's protests are due to pursuit of "a domestic political agenda."

Mr Kasit should ask himself whether he is applying the same standards to the PAD's protests against his government as to those against the Thaksin Shinawatra government in which he participated.

M Johnson



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