Thailand and Myanmar have agreed to create a task force to increase humanitarian assistance to displaced people at their border, and if successful, could expand that to include other aid agencies, Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday.
The decision was made at a meeting of their top diplomats on Thursday and Thailand hopes the initiative will help boost army-ruled Myanmar's engagement with the Asean bloc and the international community, it said in a statement.
On Sunday (Dec 2), Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara said the Thai government is ready to build shelters along the border to receive refugees in the event that fighting in Myanmar escalates further.
"Under the present situation, [an influx of refugees] is unlikely. But from now on, if violence increases, there might be refugees going in all directions, not only towards Thailand," Mr Parnpree said.
Fighting between Myanmar government forces and ethnic troops was reported in Myawaddy on Saturday and many businesspeople and cargo trucks stranded in the border town. The battlefield was about 10 kilometres from Mae Sot district of Tak province, which borders Myanmar.
This photo taken on Nov 28, 2023, shows members of the Loikaw People's Defence Force (PDF) preparing to go to the frontline near Loikaw in Myanmar's eastern Kayah state. (Photo: AFP)