Thoughtful people will agree with former foreign minister Kasit Piromya about some of his recent claims about relations with Cambodia. Harsh words have been exchanged recently over Thai diplomacy with our neighbour to the east. Mr Kasit said he had done his best when he was foreign minister to help two Thais who were arrested and jailed on espionage charges. His statements ring true. The problem is that so many Thais, including Mr Kasit, have made bilateral relations into a bitter political issue.
Mr Kasit, a career diplomat, served as foreign minister under prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, from late 2008 to mid-2011 when Yingluck Shinawatra became premier. This was a period of crisis in relations with Cambodia. Mr Kasit was often at the centre of the controversies. There was actual warfare on several occasions, with loss of life.
Diplomacy was poisoned even before his appointment. Mr Kasit, as a fervent supporter of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and its yellow-shirt mobs, had infamously attacked Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in a widely circulated video, calling him a "thug". Hun Sen made it clear he didn't like Mr Kasit or Mr Abhisit, and unprofessionally made the dispute a part of his foreign policy.
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