Thai PM Prayut to laud military's role in keynote address at Shangri-La Dialogue

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network) - Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will point to the importance of the military in maintaining security during his keynote address on Friday (June 3) at the opening of the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.  

Government deputy spokesman Major-General Werachon Sukondhapatipak said Mr Prayut, a former army chief who seized power in a coup in May 2014, would stress the military’s role and development as the key factors promoting security.

He will also speak about Thailand’s willingness to contribute to security in the Asia-Pacific at the high-level, three-day forum organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Maj-Gen Werachon said.

Twenty-one defence ministers and deputy defence ministers are leading delegations to Singapore this year for the summit, and over 30 countries are represented. 

Maj-Gen Werachon said Mr Prayut’s speech would cover regional and global security issues and their impacts on the region, including threats to Asean such as extremism, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and irregular migration.  

Mr Prayut said on Tuesday that his 30-minute speech would also include poverty, inequality and human-trafficking issues. He will seek Asean's cooperation in these areas through existing regional mechanisms.

“I will have to be careful that my words won’t cause any further problems,” Mr Prayut said.  

Maj-Gen Werachon said Mr Prayut would be the first Thai leader to speak at the summit, formally known as the Asian Security Summit, and was invited to do so by Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong and IISS.  

This will be Mr Prayut’s fourth visit to Singapore in a little over a year. Last year, he attended the state funeral of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in March, a leaders’ retreat with PM Lee in June, and the Republic's National Day Parade in August.

Mr Lee, the keynote speaker at last year's Shangri-La Dialogue, will host tea for Mr Prayut prior to the summit.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, Interior Minsiter General Anupong Paochinda and the National Security Council secretary-general General Thawip Netniyom will also attend the summit.