March 17, 2022
BANGKOK – The ministry was responding to criticism in Thai media and by other observers.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanee Sangrat insisted that the Thai government maintained neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and Thailand is maintaining friendship with all nations based on the principle of respect for international law.
Tanee explained that the Indo-Pacific Strategy was a unilateral policy framework of the US government for carrying out its policy in the region. The document was updated every year and it is not an agreement with any country.
“As a result, Thailand and the Thai government have nothing to do with this document. None of the Thai government agencies have endorsed or recognised this document,” Tanee said.
“None of the Thai government agencies has agreed to cooperate with the US to carry out its policy guidelines in the Indo-Pacific region.”
The spokesman added that the Joint Vision Statement 2020 for the Thai-US Defence Alliance was just a document expressing the joint vision for strengthening friendship and ties.
He said the document was signed on November 17, 2019 by Prayut in his capacity as the defence minister and by then US defence secretary Mark Esper.
Tanee said the joint vision document was just a guideline for cooperation of the defence ministries of both countries without being legally binding because the document is not a contract or any form of agreement.
Tanee said the joint vision document followed the normal procedure and the Cabinet approved it in accordance with regulations and normal guidelines and the two governments have earlier informed the public openly about the document’s contents.
The spokesman said Thailand voted to support a joint UN General Assembly statement to condemn Russia’s invasion in line with Thailand’s independence and sovereignty by taking into account its neutral strand and friendship with all nations.
He said the vote also took into account the respect for the rule of international law for peace and harmony of the international community in the interest of Thailand and all sides.
“The vote was not done to please any country or to show hostility to any nation. Thailand respects the rule of international law that emphasises equality and sovereignty of all nations, no matter whether they are small or large. The sovereignty cannot be violated. And this rule is very important to Thailand so the voting was done on these principles so it was necessary, appropriate and prudent,” Tanee said.
He said the Thai government realises its duty to protect the national interests with its best efforts “but Thailand must not create enmity with other countries or allow itself to be under the influence of any nation to protect its interests”.
He said the government has been implementing foreign policies based on the principle that the country must be self-dependent with pride as an independent nation by cooperating with all nations for their mutual interests.
He said the condemnation at the UN did not mean Thailand was an enemy of any nation but it simply adheres to the rule of international law for peace and harmony.
Tanee said the Thai government would like to call on all sides to attach importance to negotiations for resolving conflicts “because no one would win in the conflict”.
The spokesman said that Thailand has friendly ties with both sides in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, so the Thai government attached importance to providing help to the affected people in Ukraine.
Tanee said all countries in the world are suffering from the fallout of the Russia-Ukraine war and Thailand’s gross domestic product also depends on oil imports, so the country is being affected by energy prices and inflation.
He said the government would like to seek cooperation from all sectors to help the country survive the fallout of the war, which could be done by maintaining friendly ties and communication with all countries.
The spokesman said the government has to implement foreign policies based on confidence and trust of the international community and stability and unity in the country as well.
“So, the Foreign Ministry would like to ask all sides to attach importance to correct information instead of sharing untrue stories until they become facts,” Tanee said.
“For foreign affairs, we have to interact with the international community. If we can’t create confidence in the unity of our policy, our country will suffer,” Tanee said.