Thailand-Myanmar Form Task Force for Border Crisis09 Dec 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - Thailand and Myanmar have agreed to establish a task force to increase humanitarian assistance for people displaced at their border. This initiative, announced by Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, could involve other aid agencies if successful. The agreement came during a meeting between top diplomats of the two countries, signaling Thailand’s intention to enhance Myanmar’s engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the international community.In light of recent developments, Thailand is preparing to build shelters along its border to accommodate potential refugees if the conflict in Myanmar escalates. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara noted that while a large influx of refugees is currently unlikely, increasing violence in Myanmar could drive people in various directions, with Thailand being a potential destination.Recent clashes in Myawaddy, a border town in Myanmar, have led to a difficult situation for businesspeople and cargo trucks, stranding them in the area. The conflict zone is approximately 10 kilometers from Mae Sot district in Thailand’s Tak province, which is adjacent to Myanmar. This proximity has heightened concerns about the potential impact of the ongoing conflict on the region.
Read more >
Thailand and China to Expedite Free Visa Talks07 Dec 2023
BEIJING (NNT) - Mr. Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, recently met with Mr. Wang Yi, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, at the sidelines of the 8th Mekong - Lancang Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (FMM MLC) in Beijing.The discussions between the two sides centered around enhancing bilateral relations, emphasizing high-level exchanges, and progressing negotiations on a mutual visa exemption agreement for ordinary passport holders. A key focus was also placed on advancing the Thailand-China high-speed railway project, which aims to connect with the China-Lao PDR high-speed railway. They also underscored the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing transnational crimes and exchanged perspectives on mutual regional issues.During the meeting, Mr. Parnpree conveyed his gratitude to the Chinese Government for its assistance in repatriating Thai nationals from Laukkaing, Myanmar. Furthermore, he proposed the reinvigoration of the Consultation Mechanism between the Foreign Ministers of the two nations.In a gesture to strengthen diplomatic ties, Deputy Prime Minister Parnpree extended an invitation to China’s Foreign Minister to visit Thailand at the earliest opportunity to participate in the proposed talks. The discussions between the two countries aim to expedite the process of reaching a mutual agreement on visa exemptions and further solidify the collaborative efforts in various areas of mutual interest.
Read more >
PM Affirms Ongoing Works to Free Thai Hostages06 Dec 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has confirmed the government’s ongoing efforts to assist Thai hostages held in Gaza since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas conflict on October 7. Dismissing rumors of abandonment, he stated that further hostage releases are contingent on the next ceasefire. Foreign Affairs Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara said earlier that eight or nine Thai nationals could still be held hostage by Hamas.The Ministry of Labor is also negotiating with various countries to employ Thai workers from Israel in their agricultural sectors, with South Korea as a potential destination. Israel has requested Thai workers to continue their employment, extending contracts for another year for those with five-year agreements.Financially, the Thai government has provided 15,000 baht to each returning worker and is planning further compensation, including a 50,000 baht additional payment and a proposal for a three-year debt suspension.
Read more >
COP28 Highlights Climate Health Risks04 Dec 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - Country representatives attending the COP28 summit in Dubai have placed emphasis on the health implications of climate change, including the 7 million annual deaths attributed to air pollution. World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus discussed the urgent need to address these health threats, marking the summit’s inaugural "Health Day."The discussions also centered on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and increasing diseases such as cholera and malaria due to climate-induced weather changes. Pope Francis, participating remotely, called for overcoming nationalism-induced challenges.An important announcement came from 50 oil and gas companies committing to near-zero methane emissions by 2030. However, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticized these pledges for excluding emissions from fossil fuel consumption.U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry also underscored the impact of climate change on human health and migration while highlighting efforts by the US to reduce health sector emissions. This includes measures to reduce anesthesia waste emissions across hospitals nationwide.The COP28 declaration, backed by 120 countries, acknowledges the connection between health and climate change but stops short of addressing fossil fuel phase-out. Instead, it concentrates on curbing healthcare sector pollution.
Read more >
More Thai Hostages Freed Amid Gaza Tensions04 Dec 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is advancing negotiations for the release of nine Thai hostages held by Hamas following the recent release of six Thai workers who are due to return to Thailand on Dec 4.Foreign Affairs Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara has raised concerns about ceasing the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, potentially hindering further releases. The MFA has called for a resumption of negotiations and a truce extension to facilitate humanitarian aid and prevent further loss.The six released Thai workers have been scheduled to arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport today, as announced by MFA Spokeswoman Kanchana Patarachoke. The returnees are Pattanayut Tonsokree, Owat Suriya, Paiboon Ratnil, Kong Saelao, Chakraphan Sikhena, and Chalermchai Saengkaew.The Israeli army reported that Hamas is currently holding 139 hostages, including eight Thais. On November 30, 17 Thai hostages were escorted back from Israel by Minister Parnpree.These returnees are set to receive compensation from Israeli authorities, which includes a cash card of 10,000 shekels (about 94,526 baht) and six months of monthly assistance of 6,900 shekels. They will also receive 15,000 baht from a Thai government fund for overseas workers.
Read more >
Cambodia and Thailand Boost Cooperation in Demining and Defense03 Dec 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Manet recently hosted Thai Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang to discuss border trade, demining activities, investment, and tourism, emphasizing peace along their shared border.Key to the discussions was the demining initiative along the border, which is set to advance with the upcoming General Border Committee meeting in Cambodia next March. The initiative is critical for clearing mines from the border area and underscores the commitment of both nations to regional peace.During the visit, Sutin’s first international engagement as Defence Minister, Cambodian Defence Minister Gen Tea Seiha also expressed his appreciation for Thailand’s assistance to Cambodian migrant workers. Officials said the gathering highlights a new phase in Thailand-Cambodia relations, centering on mine removal, joint military efforts, and the well-being of migrant workers, all crucial for the region’s stability and development.
Read more >
Thailand Celebrates Another Safe Return of Citizens from Israel29 Nov 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - Thailand welcomed the safe return of two citizens previously detained abroad, marking a diplomatic victory for the country. The duo arrived at Israel’s Al Shamir Medical Center, where they were greeted by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara and a group of Thai officials.The individuals, Patthanayuth Tonsgokree and Owat Suriyasri, are the latest in a series of Thai citizens being released from captivity amid the Israel-Hamas conflict. Their arrival was a moment of national relief, celebrated by government officials and 17 other Thai nationals who had experienced a similar ordeal and were released earlier.Parnpree expressed profound relief over the safe return of the two Thai nationals, highlighting the government’s commitment to the safety and well-being of its citizens abroad. The sentiment was echoed among those present, reflecting a collective sense of national solidarity.Following their release, the individuals underwent comprehensive health evaluations, a standard protocol to ensure their well-being.
Read more >
10 Thai Hostages Freed by Hamas26 Nov 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced the release of 10 Thai nationals who were previously held hostage in the Gaza Strip by the Palestinian group Hamas. This update corrects the earlier report, which mentioned the release of 12 hostages. The released individuals, namely Natthawaree Moonkan, Santi Boonphrom, Boonthom Phankhong, Mongkhol Phajuabboon, Withoon Phumee, Wichai Kalapat, Bancha Kongmanee, Buddee Saengboon, Uthai Thunsri, and Uthai Sangnuan, are currently being monitored at Shamir Medical Centre Hospital (Assaf Harofeh) in Israel, as confirmed by the Royal Thai Embassy in Tel Aviv.The embassy has notified the families of the freed hostages in Thailand and is supervising their mandatory 48-hour medical stay at the hospital, where a team of Thai-speaking psychologists and social workers are providing support.With the current release, there are still an estimated 20 Thai nationals being held in Gaza. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now working to secure the release of the remaining hostages and has expressed appreciation for the support from the governments of Qatar, Israel, Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, and the International Committee of the Red Cross in the negotiation process.
Read more >
Blackpink to Stay with YG Amid Contract Renewals22 Nov 2023
SEOUL (NNT) - K-pop sensation Blackpink is set to renew its group contract with YG Entertainment, as reported by South Korean media outlet Munhwa Ilbo. This renewal allows them to continue as a group under the agency, while they are free to individually engage with other representatives for solo promotions. According to the report, two members have already committed to continuing the group’s activities, though their identities have not been disclosed.YG Entertainment has stated that discussions are ongoing and no final decision has been made yet. The agency added that negotiations regarding the exclusive contracts are in process, with the outcome to be disclosed in a future management document.Known as the "biggest girl group in the world", Blackpink comprises Jisoo, Jennie, Ros?, and Thailand’s Lalisa “Lisa” Manoban. The group’s future had been a topic of speculation, especially as their seven-year contract reportedly concluded in August. YG Entertainment’s silence on the matter led to a 13% drop in their stock price in September, following rumors that only Ros? might remain with the agency.A recent CNBC report, however, indicated a rebound in YG Entertainment’s shares by 3%, following news that Blackpink might continue as a group.
Read more >