Asked if he had discussed the coup with his Myanmar counterpart, he said he hadn’t because it was a political issue and all his previous talks with the Myanmar army chief had dealt solely with military affairs, not political ones.
Pressed further for his opinion of what happened this week, Gen Narongphan said he didn’t have one and the army would adhere to Asean’s principle of non-interference in the matter, as would the government.
The military relationship between Thailand and Myanmar remained as good as ever, he said.
Asked a second time to voice his opinion, the army chief said: “I have no feelings about that. And like I said this word [coup] has not crossed my mind for a long time.”
Reporters then switched their questions to the suggestion that certain political groups in Thailand were using Myanmar’s coup as a reason to justify new political attacks on the Thai military.
Gen Narongphan replied bluntly: “Military journalists should ask about military affairs only. When they ask about political affairs that is the end of the story.”
He said no signs of unusual movements had been detected along the Thai-Myanmar border since the coup but high-security measures were being maintained there as part of the government’s ongoing containment of the pandemic.
There are 356 Thais currently in Myanmar, 137 of whom had expressed their intention to return to Thailand since the coup, said Tanee Sangrat, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The rest, he said, intended to stay there.