Thailand will redeploy troops around Preah Vihear temple but will not withdraw them, Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat says.
Sukumpol: Move part of defence plan
Commenting on a news report that Cambodia would announce a troop withdrawal, ACM Sukumpol said the move was not a withdrawal, but a redeployment.
He said redeployment of Thai troops would be in line with the national defence plan or as required by the situation on the ground.
He and Second Army Region commander Lt Gen Jirasak Chomprasop would accompany Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to Cambodia on Friday.
Ms Yingluck is a guest speaker at the US-Asean Business Forum in Siem Reap on Friday at the invitation of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
A source said the Suranaree Task Force over the past three months had deployed soldiers around Preah Vihear temple as part of the national defence plan and based on the situation on the ground.
The next Joint Working Group meeting, the third of its kind, will take place in Thailand.
Royal Thai Armed Forces' chief of staff Worapong Sa-nganet heads up the Thai team, while the Cambodian side is led by deputy defence minister Neang Phat.
ACM Sukumpol will meet the armed forces leaders and the supreme commander today to compile information for Ms Yingluck's trip to Cambodia.
Meanwhile, Somkiat Onwimon, a former senator and Asean expert, commented on his Facebook page that Mrs Clinton had breached protocol when inviting Ms Yingluck to visit or meet in Cambodia.
He added that the prime minister should not have accepted the invitation as the two women are at different diplomatic levels, and even though the invitation letter was signed by the US president. "This is diplomatic ridicule. The Foreign Ministry should not allow the Thai prime minister to look inferior in dignity, which will result in damage to the nation and Thai people's dignity," he said.
Chulaphong Nonsrichai, vice-minister for the Foreign Ministry, denied Ms Yingluck's trip to Cambodia is a breach of protocol. The invitation was initiated by the US business society via the US State Department and Mrs Clinton had honoured the Thai prime minister by inviting her to be the guest speaker at the event.
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- Writer: Wassana Nanuam