Prayut may face protest at Asem forum

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will address international issues as well as explain domestic political developments to leaders at the Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) in Italy next week, a Foreign Ministry official said yesterday.

Nuntida Puangthong
The Nation October 14, 2014 1:00 am

Under the “Responsible Partnership for Growth and Security” theme, Prayut will share his vision with 52 leaders on several global issues such as transnational diseases such as Ebola, terrorist groups like Islamic State and climate change, the official said. The PM would also explain how Thailand can help world efforts to combat such threats.

The two-day 10th Asem Summit, chaired by the president of the European Council, will kick off in Milan on Thursday. At the forum, leaders will exchange views, discuss and consult issues concerning the two continents. They will also explore new possibilities on how Asia and Europe can link up for mutual benefit, he said.

As the meeting is being held in Europe, where most countries have strongly criticised the military for ousting Yingluck Shinawatra’s elected government, Prayut may face strong criticism in relation to his so-called roadmap on reconciliation and human rights practices.

And some opponents might use this as an opportunity to launch a campaign against Prayut’s government. The official, who declined to be named, said the Thai Embassy in Italy was aware of such a movement but would rely on local authorities to handle the situation.

“People have the right to express their views but they should not go against law and order in the host country,” he said.

Prayut is scheduled to meet his counterparts from the Netherlands, Switzerland, China and Japan, the official said, adding that appointments had not been fixed as yet. Prayut may also seek to meet leaders from other European countries to explain the situation in Thailand.

The Asem Summit is the first international forum that General Prayut will attend as premier. Vietnam is the current co-chair of Asem and Thailand will take over after the summit.