In a recent update coming straight from Thailand, we’ve come to know that the Thai military is getting into active mode with plans to diplomatically approach the neighbouring country, Myanmar, over a delay. This isn’t a usual diplomatic tiff though, it’s a matter of urgency related to the repatriation of 41 Thai nationals.
For those unacquainted with the situation, these individuals were rescued from illicit operations in the township of Laukkaing. And who better to reveal such heart-rending news, than Colonel Natee Thomsen? Of course, he is the steely-eyed commander of the Thap Chao Tak Taskforce of the reputable Pha Mueang Force.
As a commander of repute, Colonel Natee doesn’t just identify problems, he maps out solutions. He expressed the Thai side’s readiness for full cooperation with Myanmar to potentially expedite the repatriation process. His plan is not just to question the delay, but also, discuss possible solutions with the strategic commander of Tachileik, clearing a path for the safe return of the Thai individuals.
The migrants in question, 23 men and 18 women among them, have perhaps made the most headway since they moved from Laukkaing. Today, they are held in Kengtung, mere hours away from Tachileik, a modest border town adjacent to Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai province. Having arrived late on Wednesday night, they’ve found themselves right in the heart of Shan State.
Despite the seemingly precarious situation, it’s worth mentioning that the Thai nationals are under the careful watch of the Myanmar military. Ahead of their departure, Myanmar authorities plan to conduct normal procedural queries, related to their entry into Laukkaing, a region bordering China notorious for unlawful activities.
In yet another diplomatic exchange, it was disclosed that Myanmar had assured Thailand that, upon completion of preliminary processes, Thai officials would be permitted to drive into Tachileik for pick-up. An offer that’s undeniably hard to resist!
The group of 41 Thais is just part of a larger picture. This particular bit of news is just the tip of the iceberg, as 162 Thais were reportedly rescued from Laukkaing in the autonomous Kokang zone of Shan State. The 37th Military Circle’s Colonel Nathee Thimsen, stationed in the Mueang district of Chiang Rai, shared this news with reporters earlier this morning.
As we speak, the Thai government is in full swing coordinating repatriation of the remaining Thai nationals from Myanmar’s Shan state via Kunming, China. This amidst an escalating conflict, a trial by fire if you will, between the Myanmar military regime and local ethnic factions.