Newspaper section: News
The government has no intention whatsoever of using the Thai-Cambodian border conflict for political gain, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said yesterday.
Mr Suthep, who is in charge of security affairs, dismissed criticism by foreign analysts that the government might be using the border conflict with Cambodia to tout its political credentials.
Suthep: No gains politically
Since the latest border spat erupted last Friday, foreign media outlets have offered wide-ranging analytical comment on the cause of the fighting.
US magazine Time interviewed a public policy analyst who said the Thai army was using the security dispute to attract attention, command influence and seek a prominent role in politics.
Duncan McCargo, professor of Southeast Asian politics at the University of Leeds in England, suggested in The Independent broadsheet newspaper that the border dispute was essentially the result of an ongoing struggle between Thailand's military, the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office.
The Foreign Ministry has been telling the world community that Cambodia started the border clash, Mr Suthep said. Thailand is not trying to woo support from other countries and is only seeking to explain the border situation, the deputy premier added.
He said Thai armed forces would vigorously defend the nation's sovereignty and that the country's defence and foreign ministers were handling issues with Cambodia in the same direction and they were not at odds with each other.
Meanwhile, the United States has urged Thailand and Cambodia to exert control and settle their border conflict peacefully through negotiations.
Kristie Kenney, US ambassador to Thailand, yesterday had a meeting with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at Government House.
She encouraged Thailand and Cambodia to resume talks to resolve the border dispute peacefully.
Mrs Kenney said after the meeting that the United States wanted Thailand and Cambodia to return to the negotiating table and that the mechanisms within Asean might be helpful in resolving the standoff.