NEWS AND VIEWS THAT IMPACT LIMITED CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT
"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams
Thursday, July 9, 2015
Obama Golfs as Thailand Buys Nuke Subs From China
China Makes Moves on Thailand
Unless Thailand has a PGA golf course I doubt
if Obama knows the country exists.
(The Washington Times) - In a deal that has raised eyebrows around the region, Thailand’s coup-installed regime is on the verge of purchasing three attack submarines from China for $1 billion, after the country’s navy received exclusive anti-submarine warfare training from the U.S. 7th Fleet.
Criticism of the deal has been strong in Bangkok’s media, with some skeptics saying it would waste money because Thailand has no enemies and the military previously bought an unimpressive aircraft carrier and blimp, plus fake bomb detectors. Royal Thai navy officials selected China over competing bids from Russia, Sweden, France, Germany and South Korea.
Bangkok has long been a key U.S. ally in the region, but it has been stepping up economic and transportation ties with Beijing under Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the former army officer who heads the military junta that seized power in 2014. Talking to reporters in Bangkok Tuesday, Mr. Prayuth denied the submarine deal was another bid to curry favor with China, the region’s rising power.
“There is no need for that,” he said. “We have a good relationship with China already. Every country is good to us, except those who are still stuck on the word ‘democracy.’”
He said the government, as it makes its final recommendation, would consider if it were necessary to buy the submarines.
“If we can afford it, we would have to think about the necessity,” he said. “Is it for battles or for protecting our maritime interests? How can we protect fishing navigation? You see that other seas have these issues. You think we will not have this problem there.”
“If a war breaks out, nearly all of our surface ships will be wiped out. Submarines are what will survive,” Thailand’s Navy Commander Adm. Kraisorn Chansuvanich said this week. “The Gulf of Thailand isn’t so shallow that we can’t use submarines.”
After last year’s coup that ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the U.S. State Department has repeatedly criticized Mr. Prayuth’s regime’s harsh human rights abuses, called for a return to democracy and canceled some U.S. aid. The Pentagon however continued strengthening Mr. Prayuth’s military, and the massive annual Cobra Gold U.S.-Thai military exercise was held this year after being sharply scaled back in 2014 in the aftermath of the coup.
Unlike the Obama administration, China has not criticized Mr. Prayuth’s coup or his crackdown on free speech and political activity. Instead, China hosted the junta’s top officials during trips to Beijing and offered sweetened military and commercial deals.
In April, China’s Central Military Commission Vice-Chairman Xu Qilang visited Thailand, six months after his first trip.
In February, China’s Defense Minister Chang Wanquan came to Bangkok.
China’s bid for expanded trade and expanded security links with Thailand and other Southeast Asian nations has also unnerved Japan, which over the weekend announced its own $6.1 billion infrastructure and investment package over the next three years for the so-called “Mekong 5” — Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.