Prayut: America's 'one-size shirt' does not fit all

Prayut: America's 'one-size shirt' does not fit all

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha tells the Wharton Global Forum in Bangkok on Friday that the US should acknowledge that different situations apply in different countries. (Photo by Pattarachai Prechapanich)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha tells the Wharton Global Forum in Bangkok on Friday that the US should acknowledge that different situations apply in different countries. (Photo by Pattarachai Prechapanich)

The "one-size-fits-all" shirt pushed by the United States does not suit everybody, and Washington needed to understand the different situations existing in other countries, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said in opening the Wharton Global Forum in Bangkok on Friday morning.

Gen Prayut said he had not wished to be the prime minister, but he had to be there in the interests of national progress. Bringing order to the country was also bringing it opportunities.

"The East and the West are different. I ask you to tell the US that its one-size-fits-all shirt does not suit  everyone. There must be different sizes...," he said.

"So, do not make one-size shirts for people worldwide. That is not possible, because each country has its own problems," he said.

"Help from the US, the West and other countries will improve the life of people worldwide and make them happy," he said.

Gen Prayut, who led the May 22 coup last year, said Thailand remained open and his government had never infringed on human rights.

He said many countries understood Thailand's problems. Many others did not, but he did not view them as enemies.

His government was ready to solve foreigners' problems in Thailand, and it appeared to be taking even better care of foreigners than of Thai people, he said.

"Today we have relations with many countries. Do not hate Thailand because of me. Today I am ready to clear obstacles... We must talk because we are friends. Otherwise, small countries will always bow (down)," Gen Prayut said.

He said he could visit many countries, but the US did not welcome him even though he allowed all Washington's representatives to visit Thailand because of the bilateral relations that had existed between the two countries for more than 200 years.

"Today I will go to Japan for talks and we will have cooperation in various dimensions with many more countries," Gen Prayut said.

He is scheduled to visit Japan on March 13 and 14 to attend the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.

The prime minister was speaking at a forum organised by the US-based Wharton University of Pennsylvania on the topic, "Asia in a Borderless World".

The US-based Human Rights Watch organisation issued a statement asking Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to tell Gen Prayut at their meeting in Japan to end his government's hold on power and return civilian rule.

"Prime Minister Abe and secretary-beneral Ban should press General Prayut to uphold his pledge to respect human rights and restore democratic civilian rule through free and fair elections," said Brad Adam, Human Rights Watch's Asia director.

"Japan and the United Nations should insist on a clear deadline for the end of military rule in Thailand."

In the statement, HRW said, " Ten months after the May 2014 military coup, Thailand's ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) continues to violate fundamental human rights and freedoms and has yet to take substantial steps to restore civilian rule."

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