Thailand seeks to end tiff with Myanmar over bridge, ports closure through TBC

TAK, July 12  – Thailand is seeking to end a new disagreement with Myanmar through the Thai-Myanmar Township Border Committee (TBC) after the neighbouring country closed the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge and more than 20 ports along the Moei River apparently to protest Thai river bank protection construction, according to a senior Thai military officer.

Col Phadung Yingpaiboonsuk, a task force commander of the Thai Army’s 4th Infantry Division, also heads the local coordination centre of the Thailand-Myanmar Township Border Committee (TBC) in Tak province, bordering Myanmar’s Myawaddy township, inspected the construction site after that country’s authorities closed the bridge and port without giving a reason.

He said the Thai authorities believed that Myanmar’s action was to protest Thailand’s building river bank protection on its side of the river.

The construction project is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior’s Department of Public Works and Town and Country Planning, he said, adding that the workers had built a staircase to the river and used heavy duty construction equipment to scoop the soil on the river bank.

He added that all the construction works had been carried out on the Thailand’s bank of the river.

However, senior Tak provincial authorities suspended the construction work, and moved heavy machinery from the site and are waiting for talks via the TBC to find a joint solution.

According to local reporters, Myanmar authorities were unhappy that the construction had caused soil and rocks to fall into the river.

Consequently Myanmar ordered the closure of the bridge and ports halting traffic on both sides of the border. (MCOT online news)