Prayut prepared for refugee exodus, denies supporting Myanmar junta violence

Prayut prepared for refugee exodus, denies supporting Myanmar junta violence

Villagers fleeing conflict in Myanmar's Karen State are pictured in an unidentified location on Sunday in this picture obtained from social media. (Karen Teacher Working Group via Reuters photo)
Villagers fleeing conflict in Myanmar's Karen State are pictured in an unidentified location on Sunday in this picture obtained from social media. (Karen Teacher Working Group via Reuters photo)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Monday the government is preparing for a potential flood of refugees from neighbouring Myanmar.

"We don't want to have an exodus into our territory, but we will observe human rights, too," Gen Prayut told reporters when asked about a weekend of violence in Myanmar during anti-coup demonstrations.

"How many refugees are expected? We have prepared an area, but how many - we are not talking about that." 

Asked about the attendance of Thai military representatives at a ceremony to celebrate Myanmar’s annual Armed Forces Day amid international condemnation against the Myanmar junta, Gen Prayut said Thailand needed to maintain its military mechanisms with Myanmar to keep abreast of political developments and the level of violence in the neighbouring country.

The prime minister stressed that the Thai government was not supporting Myanmar in using force against its own people.

He also said the government had to consider both Thai and Myanmar people involved in ongoing bilateral trade and carefully weigh that against relevant measures from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other international groupings.

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