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Navy defends decision to buy three Chinese-made tanks

Navy defends decision to buy three Chinese-made tanks

THAILAND: The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) yesterday (June 1) defended its purchase of three Chinese-made tanks, saying the procurement was approved before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

ChineseCoronavirusCOVID-19militaryVaccine
By Bangkok Post

Wednesday 2 June 2021, 09:21AM


One of the three Chinese-made VN16 light tanks purchased by the navy at a cost of B398 million. The three tanks will be commissioned at the Marine Division in Chon Buri. Photo: Wassana Nanuam.

One of the three Chinese-made VN16 light tanks purchased by the navy at a cost of B398 million. The three tanks will be commissioned at the Marine Division in Chon Buri. Photo: Wassana Nanuam.

Responding to criticism of the delivery of three VN16 tanks, RTN spokesman, Adm Chettha Chaipiam, said the B398-million procurement project was approved in fiscal year 2020 so the country was committed to buying them.

During Monday’s budget bill debate, the opposition questioned why the tanks arrived in Thailand before the anticipated COVID-19 vaccines, which are a greater priority. The observation sparked criticism on social media against the government.

VN16 is the exported version of the Chinese-made ZTD-05, an amphibious light tank designed and manufactured by China Ordnance Industries Group Corp Ltd, aka China North Industries Group Corp Ltd (NORINCO).

According to a source, the order for the three tanks was placed in June last year and the tanks arrived in Thailand last week. The tanks will be assigned to the Marine Division in Chon Buri’s Sattahip district, said the same source.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said he has had talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, also the leader of Bhumjaithai Party, over the party’s stance against the government’s new budget allocation plan.

Thai Residential

Gen Prayut said he explained to Mr Anutin that money from sources other than the 2022 budget is set aside for funding the Public Health Ministry’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in lieu of the ministry’s slashed budgets.

The PM was responding to a remark by Bhumjaithai MP for Uthai Thani Chada Thaised, who in the budget bill debate criticised the government for cutting the ministry’s budget and urged Mr Anutin to withdraw from the collation.

Gen Prayut refused to comment and simply walked away when asked yesterday if the coalition remained united.

According to government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri, Mr Anutin yesterday explained at the cabinet meeting that a misunderstanding had occurred before it was revealed that B293 billion and another B311mn has already been set aside for containing the COVID-19 outbreak.

During yesterday’s budget debate, Bhumjaithai list MP, Korrawee Prissananantakul accused the government of trying to slash the Public Health Ministry’s proposed budget by B4bn.

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Fascinated | 02 June 2021 - 13:10:18

This should be good for at least ten pages of wailing and gnashing of teeth on Thaigeezer. 

skorchio | 02 June 2021 - 11:53:57

These tanks are a part of the battle against Covid, we are in this together. The Navy.

 

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