Junta-ruled Thailand says it will buy three Chinese submarines

Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan gestures during an interview with Reuters at the Defence Ministry in Bangkok, Thailand, February 18, 2016. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom

Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan gestures during an interview with Reuters at the Defence Ministry in Bangkok, Thailand, February 18, 2016. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom

Military-ruled Thailand will buy three submarines worth around $1 billion from China, the defense minister said on Friday, a move that signals warming ties with the regional superpower as relations with the United States cool.

Thailand’s army seized power in a May 2014 coup following months of street protests, toppling the remnants of the civilian government led by Yingluck Shinawatra.

Since then, the military government has sought to improve ties with China which has stepped into the vacuum left by Western governments that have kept the junta at arms length and called for a rapid return to democratic government.

That has come as Beijing and Washington jostle for power and influence in Southeast Asia, where China’s disputed maritime claims in the South China Sea have has caused tension in recent years.

The purchase of 36 billion baht ($1.03 billion) worth of Chinese-made submarines next year was confirmed on Friday by Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, after the navy put the plan to the cabinet.

Thailand has never had submarines and has tried, since the 1990s, to sign deals with several countries, including South Korea and Germany.

Thailand put the deal with China on hold a year ago to review the cost and capabilities of the vessels.

Warming ties with China have seen the two countries work toward a massive rail project and holding joint air force exercises.

Thailand’s defense spending is set to rise to around 214 billion baht ($6.10 billion) in 2017, up 16.6 percent from 2014.

(Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Simon Webb and Nick Macfie)

Source: Reuters “Junta-ruled Thailand says it will buy three Chinese submarines”


5 Comments on “Junta-ruled Thailand says it will buy three Chinese submarines”

  1. Oscar Villanueva says:

    Sounds and looks like the Hsiung Feng III (!) and Taiwan’s missile defence is a joke. Then again maybe it is not. The Taiwanese generals in truth, may not be with Washington’s anti Chinese racist neocon hawks or their puppet in Taipei.


  2. Joseph says:

    Is this why Ash Carter tried to berate Thailand prime minister on the Shangrilla Dialogue? Because he failed to sell vintage American junks? $1 billion goes to China from Thailand means only $1 billion US loss from ‘projected’ revenue. So far Ash Carter has no luck as international salesman. He may as well go back to be car salesman. Obviously he will have more luck dubbing American to buy dodge cars than dubbing ASEAN leaders to buy dodgy American military equipment. Tough luck. After all, ASEAN was littered by dodgy American equipment from Vietnam War.


  3. Simon says:

    Official. Taiwan’s Hsiung Feng III anti ship missile is a dud!
    News out today Taiwan acting in a way that mirrors North Korea which fequently launch missiles to create crises for attention, launched a Hsiung Feng III missile to coincide on China’s 95th Anniversary of the CCP in the direction of China. I’m sure it was meant to land on the sea and cause an explosion but It hiit a Taiwanese fishing boat and failed to explode and it did not sink and killing the boat’s captain. This HF III missile is a show piece weapon of the island’s defence and its capability is “state” secret and yet it could not even sink a fishing boat.


    • Joseph says:

      It is not really that hard to figure out, considering how ridiculously tiny Taiwan’s defense budget is. Even Taiwan’s AH-64 Apache pilots might not be paid enough that they have to give out joy rides, on their Apache.


    • Joseph says:

      You don’t get it, do you? That’s the Hsiung Feng III’s state secret. It could not even sink a fishing boat. But the enemy did not know that. That’s why it’s a state seecreet!!