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PM accepts invite for Asem summit

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will make his first overseas trip next week to Myanmar for the Asean chairmanship, government spokesman Yongyuth Maiyalap said Tuesday.

Gen Prayut accepted the Myanmar government’s invitation to visit the country on Oct 9-10 and the prime minister will use the opportunity to introduce himself and exchange views on bilateral issues, Dr Yongyuth said.

The premier also decided to attend the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) in Milan, Italy from Oct 16-17. Leaders from 51 Asian and European member states will attend. Gen Prayut will explain Thai political developments at the meeting.

The main topics for discussion with Myanmar’s leader during next week’s visit will be border cooperation and migrant worker and refugee issues, Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkeow said Tuesday.

Gen Prayut is also expected to discuss the Dawei project — development of a deep-sea port, industrial estate and pipeline — with president Thein Sein.

Talks at Asem will focus on economic issues, but climate change and the Ebola epidemic will also be on the table, Mr Sihasak said.

Meanwhile, Mr Sihasak hailed Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn’s trip to the 69th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) this week as a success, saying the international community has regained confidence in Thailand.

Gen Tanasak, who is also deputy prime minister, received a warm welcome from United States Secretary of State John Kerry, according to Mr Sihasak.

“There was a report saying the secretary of state did not shake hands with Gen Tanasak, but this is not true as I witnessed their greeting,” he said.

Mr Kerry held talks with 10 Asean foreign ministers at the Asean-US meeting during the annual UNGA.

After his speech, Gen Tanasak held brief talks with several foreign representatives who expressed understanding over the political situation and urged Thailand to follow its roadmap to democracy.

“They understand the situation and want Thailand to have transparent politics as well as sustainable elections and assured us their support will continue,” Mr Sihasak said.

Gen Tanasak also met the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said he wanted to see the country return to practising peaceful politics.

Myanmar commander hails Thailand’s coup

Posted by pakin On July - 7 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief General Min Aung Hlaing today made Thailand and Myanmar become the same type, praising the ruling junta of doing the right job to protect national security and people safety.

During a meeting with Thai Supreme Commander General Thanasak Patimaprakorn who is a deputy leader of the National Council for Pace and Order (NCPO) today, Ming Aung Hlaing said that the Tatmadaw (Myanmar armed forces) had similar experience, but worse in 1988.

In 1988, Myanmar students staged an uprising against military dictator regime of General Ne Win, which ended up with bloody military crackdown and a coup to take control over the country.

Myanmar junta known as State Law and Order Restoration Council and later changed to State Peace and Development Council – ruled Myanmar since then until 2010 when an election brought quasimilitary administration into power.

“The Army’s key mission is to safeguard national security and public safety,” Min Aung Hlaing reportedly told Tanasak. After considering the NCPO’s roadmap, aimed at achieving reconciliation and national reform, he was confident it would definitely succeed.

To his counterpart, Thanasak said that the military ties between Thailand and Myanmar would be strengthened.

“The bilateral military cooperation would be maintained, concerning measures to deal with border conflicts as well as joint training,” Thanasak said. He also expressed supports joint economic development between the two countries, which are both Asean members.

Thanasak also told the Myanmar counterpart that Thailand would ensure protection to Myanmar nationals now working in the kingdom in accordance with this country’s laws. Last month, a large number of Myanmar workers here were fleeing Thailand or hiding for fear of arrest, following the NCPO’s move to punish illegal labour.

Today’s visit followed the one in 2013, when the general met then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Then, he said the relations between Thailand and Myanmar are at their most cordial in the history of ties between the two countries.

The Thai military junta staged the coup on May 22 and planned to maintain the tight grip until the next election, which could be held in October 2015. The junta recently announced that the provisional Constitution would be enforced soon. While the Thai Army’s power strengthens, Myanmar’s armed forces have witnessed intensifying public resentment.

The National League for Democracy’s campaign has won over 3 million signatures from people who supported the charter amendment, which would weaken the Tatmadaw’s influence in politics.

Min Aung Hlaing also met NCPO leader Prayuth Chan-ocha and made a courtesy call to and lunched with Chief of Privy Council General Prem Tinsulanonda who reportedly regarded the Myanmar commander as his son. Prem had close relation with Min Aung Hlaing’s father when he was the Thai army commander in late 1970s. Min Aung Hlaing, who asked Prem to adopt him as a son when firstly met in 2012, called the chief of privy council time to time over the past years whenever he was in Thailand.

The Ministry of Labour is cooperating with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to improve conditions in workplaces run by about 200 seafood operators in Thailand and to comply with good labour practices.

The move is aimed mainly at improving Thailand’s image in the international community.

Labour permanent secretary Jirasuk Sugandhajati said on Wednesday that the United States’ negative view of Thailand regarding its human trafficking problems had impacts on the prawn, fisheries, sugarcane and garment products sectors.

The Ministry of Labour planned to apply good labour practices (GLPs) to solve the problem, he said.

He did not suggest it was out of concern for the workers in the industry.

Mr Jirusak said GLPs would be implemented in prawn and seafood-related industries covering initial processing workplaces, prawn farms, frozen seafood factories and fisheries.

The Ministry of Labour and the ILO would introduce GLPs at about 200 participating workplaces and those that met the labour standard would receive certificates from the ministry to show their foreign trading partners that their businesses were free of human trafficking, Mr Jirasuk said.

The permanent secretary for labour discussed good labour practices with Maurizio Bussi, of the ILO Decent Work Technical Support Teams for East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific on Wednesday.

GLPs prohibit businesses using child workers, defined as under 15 years, and forced labour, from discrimination and from human trafficking. They allow association among workers, exchanging opinions with employees, and require provision of safe workplaces and safe use of chemicals.

The standards promote the employment of workers aged 15-17 and installation of hygienic waste treatment systems.

Mr Jirasuksaid all fishing boat operators were required to sign clear employment contracts with their workers. Earlier those hiring fewer than 20 workers were spared the requirement.

Last month the United States demoted Thailand from the Tier 2 watch list to Tier 3, the lowest ranking, in its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.

Sumet Mahosot, director-general of the Department of Employment, said his department would open a hotline number, 1694, on July 4 to serve foreign workers.

Staff mainnng the hotline would speak in Thai, Myanmar, Cambodian and English. He said Lao and Thai people could already communicate naturally so there would not be a Lao translator at the hotline service. The hotline will initially operate from 6-9am and 4-8pm.

Unesco to help Myanmar list Bagan

Posted by pakin On June - 27 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

YANGON – Unesco would help Myanmar update its inventories of the ancient capital Bagan, an important initial step to safeguarding the site, the government said Friday.

“The experts from Unesco will train our staff on how we should do the process of inventory,” Myanmar’s Deputy Culture Minister Sandar Khin told dpa.

Doing a proper inventory “is the essential first step for Bagan to be listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site,” she said.

The announcement comes days after the ancient cities of Pyu were designated as a World Heritage Site.

Myanmar nominated Bagan to the World Heritage Committee in 1996, but the site has not achieved Unesco world heritage status, thought largely to be because of poor restoration work undertaken by the military junta in the 1990s.

Bagan was the capital city of the first Myanmar kingdom, which contains more than 2,500 Buddhist monuments built from the 10th to the 14th centuries AD.

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