New army chief Apirat says he will 'strengthen' army

New army chief Apirat says he will 'strengthen' army

Gen Apirat Kongsompong
Gen Apirat Kongsompong

Incoming commander-in-chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong says he will "strengthen the army" and take the lead in tackling major problems threatening national security.

Gen Apirat, who takes up his new role on Oct 1, was speaking at a ceremony where he accepted his appointment, at the Royal Thai Army headquarters on Friday. 

He expressed his great gratitude to His Majesty the King for appointing him and promised to do his very best in carrying out his duty to the nation, the King and the people.

Gen Apirat said the army had a wide ranging role involving security, national development and relief of people's hardships.

He praised his retiring predecessor Chalermchai Sitthisad as being a professional soldier.

Gen Chalermchai had promoted the concept of "Smart Man Smart Army" to promote the physical and mental strength, knowledge and morality of the soldiers, Gen Apirat said.

That led to "the empowerment of the army, which has leading roles in solving major problems affecting national security and order and is always ready to be there for people", Gen Apirat said.

Gen Apirat, a member of Class 20 of the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School, has two years to serve before his mandatory retirement in 2020.

The son of the late strongman Gen Sunthorn Kongsompong, who engineered the coup that seized power from the Chatichai Choonhavan government in 1991, Gen Apirat was one of the movers of the May 22, 2014 coup when he supervised the 1st Division, King's Guard, which was a key unit in the putsch.

He was assistant army chief before his latest promotion.

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