Thai PM’s planned August visit to Myanmar postponed

BANGKOK, July 20 – Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva postponed his planned visit to neighbouring Myanmar due to demanding schedules on the part between the leaders of the two countries, the acting Thai government spokesman said on Tuesday.

Panitan Wattanayagorn said the postponement has nothing to do with the continued closure of the Thai-Myanmar border in Tak province.

The border trade and transport at the Mae Sot-Myawaddy border was suspended after Myanmar officials shut the border at the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge crossing the Moei River and at over 20 cross-border trading ports along the river since July 12.

It is believed that the Myanmar authorities were unhappy with Thailand’s building river bank protection on the Thai side because the construction caused soil and rocks to fall into the river.

Dr Panitan brushed aside the issue, stating that the postponement of the Thai leader’s visit was not about the dissatisfaction of Myanmar leader over current
border closure as both leaders have met several times at international forums.

The Thai spokesman said the visit is untimely as both leaders are not available at the period of time.

Mr Abhisit earlier said he would visit the neighbouring country early August, ahead of its first general election in two decades, scheduled to be held within this year.

The Thai premier’s trip to Myanmar was first scheduled last July but then was postponed as it coincided with the incident in which an American man swam
across the lake into the home of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is confined under house arrest.

Mr Abhisit said last month that he will visit Myanmar for one or two days as part of his overseas missions to create better understanding on Thailand’s recent political crisis and violent street protests. (MCOT)