Thailand’s delicate dance with the major powers

Visiting Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) stresses a point with Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (R) looking on during their joint news conference at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, 08 April 2015. (Photo: APP).

Author: Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Chulalongkorn University

Thailand now stands on a tightrope among the major powers. Recently, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev made a high-profile visit to Bangkok, hosted by the coup-appointed government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Medvedev’s visit suggests that Thailand is now strategically courting authoritarian major powers, namely Russia and China, in defiance of Western criticism of Bangkok’s coup and military regime.

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Securing peace in southern Thailand

A burnt school building and stores after they were allegedly set on fire by suspected separatist militants in Thailand's restive southern province of Narathiwat on 12 May, 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Rungrawee Chalermsripinyorat, ANU

On 10 April, a car bomb exploded in the underground car park of a shopping mall on the southern resort island of Samui in Thailand. The incident saw 10 people injured and damage to several cars. Police have issued arrest warrants for at least six individuals. How will this attack impact the stalled peace process in southern Thailand? Read more…

Local innovation vital to sustain Thailand’s growth

Thailand's manufacturing sector relies upon foreign technology and low labour costs. But Thailand needs to transition to a knowledge economy. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Nonarit Bisonyabut and Chatra Kamsaeng, TDRI

Thailand’s current development model may not be able to sustain growth in the long term. Thailand needs to make the shift to a knowledge-based, innovative economy — and this means that policy settings will need to change. Read more…

Thai public health care suffering by association

Thai nurse prepares free vaccinations at a hospital on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Bo Kyeong Seo, Free University of Berlin

Thailand’s current democratic crisis sits in stark contrast with its greatest achievement this century: universal health coverage. This achievement is also a prime example of the ideological disagreements on the value of populism in Thai politics. Read more…

Elections won’t solve Thailand’s problems with the US alliance

Thai students display placards as they demonstrate in front of the military court in Bangkok on 16 March 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Phuong Nguyen, CSIS, Washington

Thailand’s General Prayuth Chan-ocha announced in February that Thailand will hold elections to restore democracy in early 2016. Despite their many efforts to make the case for the military takeover, Prayuth has realised that the military and its supporters will not get off easy with long-time ally the US. Read more…

Thailand’s simmering security crisis gathers steam

Thai Muslim villagers carry the body of a villager who was shot dead by suspected separatist militants in Thailand's restive southern province of Narathiwat on 2 January 2015. Violence in Thailand's Muslim-majority south has left thousands dead — the majority civilians. (Photo: AAP).

Author: John Blaxland, ANU

A quiet but increasingly deadly struggle is taking place in Thailand’s deep south.

But why has the security crisis in the three southernmost insurgency-affected provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat proved to be so intractable and drawn out? Read more…

Thailand’s Cambodian charm offensive

Prime Minister of Thailand Prayuth Chan-ocha walks upon arriving at the international airport in Naypyidaw to attend the ASEAN Summit on 11 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Chheang Vannarith, University of Leeds

The recent state visit by Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to Cambodia represented part of the Thai military government’s uphill diplomatic battle to build and strengthen its legitimacy abroad. This visit occurred amid mounting diplomatic pressures from Europe and the US, calling for a rapid return to democracy. Read more…