Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Thailand

Newsline: UK’s Bangkok embassy sold by Foreign Office for £420m

The Foreign Office has sold its British embassy in Bangkok for £420m, the biggest property sale in its history. Money raised will be used to renovate other embassies around the world. British diplomats in Thailand’s capital city will move to a modern tower block in 2019, that has been leased for the next 15 years. The colonial-era embassy was built in 1922 when the British government bought the nine-acre site on the outskirts of Bangkok. The Wireless Road compound includes its own tropical garden in a busy part of the capital, but large parts of the embassy have fallen into disrepair.



Newsline: Thailand to ‘Upgrade’ Munich Consulate

Thailand’s diplomatic mission in Munich is slated for expansion, with a new Consulate-General to replace its honorary representative, a top foreign affairs official said. Under a plan approved by the Cabinet, the new Consulate-General’s office will cover the two German regions of Bayern and Baden-Württemberg. The change means Thailand will have a second Consulate-General in Germany in addition to one already in Frankfurt. Foreign Affairs is tasked tasked with furnishing personnel and funds to make it happen, while Germany was extended a reciprocal offer to expand its diplomatic presence in Thailand. However, Germany currently has no plans to open a new consulate in Thailand, deputy head of German mission Jan Scheer wrote in an email.


Newsline: North Korean Ambassador To Thailand Says His Country Will Strike Back If Attacked

North Korean Ambassador to Thailand Mun Song-mo says his country will “definitely win” any war with the United States if Washington does not drop its “plan to destroy us.” He called US President Donald Trump a “mad man”, the envoy from Pyongyang in an interview last Friday: “We now have the hydrogen bomb. If a war breaks out, we are ready to fight and we will surely win the war against the United States.” In the rare interview, the North Korean envoy, however, stressed: “We don’t want to start a war. We want peace. But if we are attacked, we will certainly fight and we have no doubts that we will win.”



Newsline: Thai consulate in Los Angeles warns of protests over failure to retrieve students’ bodies

US authorities could face protests if they do not expedite the retrieval of the bodies of two Thai postgraduate students believed to have died in a car crash almost two weeks ago in California, the Thai Consulate in Los Angeles has said. Protests are planned in Fresno county, the scene of the accident, and Los Angeles, as frustration mounts with the slow progress of the operation. The consulate said on Facebook that protests would proceed if the rescue and recovery operation were not launched. Thiwadee Saengsuriyarit, 24, and Bhakapon Chairattanasongporn, 28, were driving on a highway on July 26 to Kings Canyon National Park when their rental car plunged off a 150-metre cliff and came to rest partially submerged in a river. Fresno county officials have been blaming bad weather, strong currents and high water from melting snow for the slow pace of the operation. Hopes that the pair survived the accident were dashed when Consulate General Tanee Sangrat said this week that the bodies of the students had been found in the car. In Bangkok, Ekkachai Taidecha, uncle of Bhakapon, applied yesterday for entry visas for a Thai rescue team, saying Thais should take over if US authorities continued to fail to act. “If this accident happened in Thailand, Thai rescuers would be able to get the bodies within 12 hours, no matter how bad the weather was. They would not have to use a helicopter,” he said. In response to Ekkachai’s symbolic protest, the US Embassy issued a statement. “We are closely following the situation and express our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the two Thai students involved in this tragic accident in California.”



Newsline: Iranian self-immolates outside embassy in Bangkok

Thai police said an Iranian man set himself on fire Friday in front of the Iranian Embassy in Bangkok to protest his country’s presidential election. The unidentified man doused himself with gasoline before lighting himself on fire outside the gate of the embassy around noon, police said. The man suffered burns all over his body and was taken to a hospital. Pol Lt Col Noppadol Samart said the man was protesting Friday’s presidential vote in Iran, though he did not know exactly what about the election the man was opposed to.



Newsline: Russian embassy in Bangkok says turbulence injured 27 on Aeroflot flight to Bangkok

Passengers on an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Thailand were slammed into the ceiling after their aircraft hit a patch of severe turbulence injuring 27 people, some of them suffering fractured bones, witnesses and officials said Monday. Denis Antonyuk, an official at Russia’s embassy in Bangkok said 24 Russian nationals and three Thais were injured. “Fifteen Russians and two Thais are still in hospital,” he told AFP, adding the rest had been discharged. The terrifying ordeal occurred when the plane flew through a pocket of “clean air” turbulence — so-called because there is no cloud warning of its presence — shortly before landing in Bangkok after midnight, the airline said. The head of the Russian embassy’s consular department Vladimir Sosnov told RIA Novosti news agency that some of the injured were undergoing operations but he could not give exact numbers. He added that none of the injuries were life-threatening. “All the injured were taken to a local hospital with injuries of varying degrees of severity — mainly fractures and contusions. Some need an operation,” the Russian embassy in Bangkok said in a statement.



Newsline: US Embassy treats Thai visa applicants like crime suspects

US people in Thailand are treated much better by the Thai government than Thai people are treated by the US Embassy. I have never had a problem with getting a visa to visit or work in Thailand, but my Thai friends tell me the same isn’t true of them getting visas for the US. The guidance given on the Internet to apply for a US visa is not only unhelpful, but is outright misleading as it gives the impression that, to receive a visa, all a person needs is a current passport, a government form, some photos and money. If you read the instructions carefully, you see that unlike the US legal system, there is NO appeal if you are refused a visa and they keep your money. There seems to be a culture within the US Embassy, especially those who deal with visa interviews, that Thai people are dishonest and only trying to get tourist or business visas so they can stay in the US illegally and not return to Thailand. I’ve been told the interviewers are arrogant and unfriendly, and often refuse to give any reason if a visa isn’t given.