Myanmar army commander-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has received a second royal decoration from Thailand, with Supreme Commander Thanchaiyan Srisuwan commenting that this marks the close relationship between the two countries' armed forces.
Privy Council president Gen Prem Tinsulanonda also praised Gen Min Aung Hlaing as the Myanmar army chief visited him at his Si Sao Thewes Residence yesterday.
Gen Min Aung Hlaing was awarded the Knight Grand Cross (First Class) of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant at a ceremony in Bangkok on Friday, also the first day of his three-day visit to Thailand.
The Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) sought the royal decoration from the palace for the Myanmar army chief on June 14, 2016 and it was royally granted on Aug 21 last year.
"The award was given because of the close relationship between Gen Min Aung Hlaing and the Thai armed forces and the history of cooperation between our nations," said Gen Thanchaiyan.
Early this month, Gen Thanchaiyan travelled to the Myanmar capital, Nay Pyi Taw, where he met Gen Min Aung Hlaing and attended a merit-making ceremony with him.
"Close military relations make everything better," said Gen Thanchaiyan.
"When something happens, we can hold talks.
"There is no need for problems to occur. We are from Asean all the same."
Myanmar security forces have been accused by the international community of persecuting Rohingya Muslims.
Gen Thanchaiyan said that is an internal issue for Myanmar to deal with and will have no implication on the countries' relations.
The RTAF, however, hopes for a peaceful solution to the issue, he noted.
Gen Min Aung Hlaing was awarded the Knight Grand Cross (First Class) of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand on Feb 7, 2013.
Gen Prem, a former prime minister, congratulated Gen Min Aung Hlaing on receiving the royal decoration.
He also asked the Myanmar army chief to maintain their close relationship.
"If you come to Thailand again, do not forget to visit me, otherwise I will be angry," Gen Prem told Gen Min Aung Hlaing with a laugh.
Gen Min Aung Hlaing was said to have close ties with Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn, the then Supreme Commander during the government of Yingluck Shinawatra.
He is also said to be close to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who was army chief at that time.
second award: Senior General Min Aung Hlaing