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As Thai-Chinese Relations Grow, So do US Threats

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02.05.2019


The Southeast Asian Kingdom of Thailand, a nation with nearly 70 million people and the second largest economy in the region, has accelerated already growing ties with China over the past 5 years.

These ties include military purchases to replace Thailand’s aging US hardware with newer and more capable Chinese main battle tanks, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles and even submarines either already in use or on their way.

Thai-Chinese relations also centre around Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Thailand’s role as a major partner through which high-speed rail will connect China itself with Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and by extension, Singapore granting passengers and freight travelling from China a shortcut to the Strait of Malacca and the Indian Ocean beyond.

The obvious, negative implications this will have on Washington’s self-proclaimed notion of Asian primacy has led to gathering political storm clouds. The US is leading a noticeable uptick in propaganda aimed at not only undermining China’s BRI, but also attacking China’s partners, including Thailand.

The US and its partners are also increasing their political interference in Thailand, attempting during recent elections to install political forces into power that will reverse Thai-Chinese relations. The failure of these forces to decisively win elections even with US aid, leaves the looming prospect of the US resorting to backing protests and even terrorism to spoil Thai-Chinese gains.

Bangkok-Beijing Cementing Ties

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha attended Beijing’s recent 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

Pro-Western English newspaper, the Bangkok Post, in an article titled, “Regime talks up China ties on visit to Beijing for ‘Belt and Road’ forum,” would note:

“Both sides were satisfied with the fact that over the past five years, Thailand and China have had their closest relations ever,” deputy government spokesman Werachon Sukondhapatipak, told the media in the press wrap-up about the meetings between Thai and Chinese leaders.

“Gen Prayut gave an assurance that Thailand will take care of Chinese investors and tourists,” said Lt Gen Werachon.

Both nations pledged to help drive up the value of trade between them to US$140 billion by 2021, double the current $73.6........

© New Eastern Outlook