Last Friday (October 2), Pheu Thai MP Chalerm Yoobamrung admitted to have given to Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen an audio clip that features Foreign Affairs Minister Kasit Piromya criticizing him. He explained that as some people were trying to root out exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, he could do the same to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
What I saw on the news the next day was the picture of the Cambodian prime minister exchanging greetings and pleasantries with the Thai foreign affairs minister in the second meeting of foreign ministers from Japan and five countries on the Mekong River, held in Siam Reap province of Cambodia.
Earlier, Hun Sen said with strong words that he had ordered his troops to shoot Thai trespassers if they illegally crossed the border to Cambodia’s territory. He also threatened to withdraw from the ASEAN summit to be held in Thailand at the end of October.
However, just a few days after Hun Sen’s declaration, a source at the Thai Foreign Ministry revealed that the Cambodian leader would definitely attend the summit.
I recounted these events in order to show how crafty Hun Sen is and that he could use the Preah Vihear dispute as political ploy at will.
And while Chalerm was bragging about his secret delivery of Kasit’s clip, I could imagine Hun Sen sitting on his prime minister chair and enjoying the Thai government and the Opposition fighting each other
In Hun Sen’s eyes, Chalerm is perhaps a bit like a mischievous kid, an image that is a stark contrast to a prior impression that the Thai politician was respectable and, most of all, mature.
Chalerm’s move is quite embarrassing to the nation considering Hun Sen had long gotten his hands on the clip complete with a Cambodian subtitle. It is said that he had ordered his men to check on the background of anyone who spoke about his country.
It is not surprising at all that the Cambodian prime minister would be well informed of what happened in Thailand as he has an embassy and many news sources here.
Can you imagine what Hun Sen would think after he received the clip with the sender’s name of Charlerm?
What would you say if a member of your rival approaches you and offers to sell information to you?
If that occurred to me, as a good citizen who has every conscience to protect the interest of his own country, I would ask myself, how in the world could this guy be disloyal to his country?
And that might explain why Hun Sen is always looking at Thailand with disdain
.From ‘Ka Fae Dum’ column, Krungthep Thurakij newsparper, October 6th, p.2
Translated and edited by Wacharapol Isaranont
PM : Chalerm must answer for clip to Hun Sen
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday questioned the motive of Pheu Thai Party MP Chalerm Yoobamrung in sending to Cambodian PM Hun Sen an audio clip of Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya criticising Hun Sen.
“I have no idea why he would do that and Chalerm has to answer why. The audio tape was old,” the premier said. Abhisit downplayed consequences of Chalerm’s move, saying what he did would not adversely affect the bilateral relations between the two countries. Whenever he met Hun Sen, they enjoyed amicable relations.
“Hun Sen told me not to let Preah Vihear [the disputed temple] become an obstacle to other bilateral cooperation,” he said.
Abhisit said the government would protect the interests of the country and solve the conflict over Preah Vihear through peaceful means.
“That does not mean that [in the interest of ] peace we will allow them [to take over the contested land]. But ….we will be careful not to cause any casualties or losses,” he said.
Thepthai Senpong, personal spokesman of the Democrat Party leader, attacked Chalerm, saying the politician was putting the country at stake to fulfil his political ambition. “Look back at our history. Ayutthya collapsed because Thais acted as spies for the enemy. Is Chalerm acting like that?” he said.
He said Chalerm was abusing an internal matter to create greater conflict between the two countries and Thailand would definitely suffer as a result.
“Chalerm, do you love the country? Are you still Thai? If what you are doing causes conflict that cannot be resolved, how will you take responsibility for your actions?” he asked.
Thepthai also defended Kasit, saying the tape featuring Kasit’s stance was recorded before he assumed the foreign portfolio.
Sathit Pitutecha, Democrat Party executive, said Chalerm criticised the prime minister as being immature; but his action in sending the audio clip to Hun Sen showed Chalerm acted like a primary school student.
By The Nation
Published on October 5, 2009
Chalerm attacked for video threat
Veteran opposition politician Chalerm Yoobamrung came under fire yesterday for his threat to send to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen a video of Kasit Piromya – now the foreign minister – criticising him.
Kasit, formerly a senior diplomat, made critical remarks about Hun Sen when he participated in a protest by the People’s Alliance for Democracy last year, shortly before he became foreign minister.
MR Priyanandhana Rangsit, an appointed senator who is deputy chair of the Senate committee on foreign affairs, said yesterday it would be improper for Chalerm to act in such a way.
“It is really improper to attack someone with a matter of the past. It’s not a good idea for ties between the two countries and between Kasit and Samdech Hun Sen,” she said, referring to the Cambodian leader by his Cambodian title.
She said Kasit’s status had changed and he was now the Thai foreign affairs minister and no longer an activist affiliated with the PAD.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said it appeared Chalerm was trying every way possible to get his political camp back into power and acting for their benefit. “That could cause damage to the country,” he said.
But Suthep said he had no concern that Chalerm’s move might threaten ties with Phnom Penh, as he believed the Cambodian leader had a good grasp of Thai politics.
“Prime Minister Hun Sen is a senior politician with a good understanding of politics. I don’t think I need to call him [to explain about the matter]. But if I have time, I will call on him again to talk about bilateral ties. We must keep good ties with our neighbours,” he said.
Suthep visited Hun Sen a few months ago following a border dispute between the two countries.
By The Nation
Published on October 6, 2009