Landmine clearance to finish 'by 2023': Pornpipat
Thailand has affirmed its commitment to become a landmine-free country by 2023, two years ahead of the 2025 deadline agreed in 2014 under the 1997 Ottawa Treaty.
Chief of Defence Forces, Pornpipat Benyasri, said the Royal Thai Armed Forces is determined to accomplish their goal of clearing remaining landmines within five years.
"We are confident Thailand will be free of landmines by 2023," he said on Wednesday at a meeting of armed force leaders.
According to Gen Pornpipat, a number of areas once considered danger zones have been de-mined this year and returned to local administrative bodies to be used for various activities.
"The fact Thailand ranked sixth in the world this year in terms of de-mining work is proof of our outstanding performance," he said, before noting Thailand also ranked highest among its Southeast Asian cohorts on the list.
A total of 46 countries have ratified the Ottawa Treaty, including Thailand. It concerns the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, and production of anti-personnel mines.
Wednesday's meeting also discussed the army chief's participation in the 20th Asean Chiefs of Army Multilateral Meeting (ACAMM), which was held in Bandung, Indonesia on Nov 24-26. In the past few meetings, new proposals to strengthen regional security and boost military cooperation and experience sharing were discussed. More discussions on the matter are expected in an upcoming gathering. Cybersecurity threats and Asean's goal to establish a permanent regional security mechanism were also discussed yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Royal Thai Navy on Wednesday laid out its 20-year strategic plan at the meeting to strengthen its capacity to ensure national marine security against security threats.