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Saturday, Sep 13, 2014

Asia

Prayuth's first visit will be to Myanmar

The Nation/ANN | Saturday, Sep 13, 2014

File photo of Thailand's coup leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Myanmar is set to become the first foreign country that General Prayuth Chan-ocha will visit after becoming prime minister, deputy Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said yesterday

Don said Prayuth would visit Myanmar late this month or early next month.

The Army chief, who announced his policies to the National Legislative Assembly yesterday, chose Myanmar because the country was now the chair of ASEAN, Don said.

"The next country is Malaysia since Thailand shares the same border and it has many issues concerning the situation in the deep South to discuss with leaders in Kuala Lumpur," he said.

The first foreign visit of new Thai premiers is closely watched. Traditionally, they visit Laos first since it is an immediate neighbour of Thailand's and the two countries have many similarities.

Yingluck Shinawatra, when she took office in 2011, chose Brunei as her first visit as the country was first in alphabetical order among ASEAN countries. Yingluck later visited all ASEAN members and she was regarded as the premier who travelled the most.

Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapagorn, who is a four-star general and a member of the junta, started work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday. He and Don met with senior officials so he could familiarise himself with the ministry's policy orientation.

Tanasak told the officials that his mission was to get foreign countries to have more confidence in Thailand and prepare for the full implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community next year.

Tanasak met with US Ambassador Kristie Kenney and Japanese Ambassador Shigekazu Sato following the meeting.

He said he told the ambassadors that the government was implementing the roadmap for democracy and reconciliation in order to strengthen Thailand and prevent other ASEAN countries being affected by a Thai crisis.

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