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Phuket welcomes historic Myanmar warships

PHUKET: A small but enthusiastic crowd gathered at the Royal Thai Navy’s Pier at Cape Panwa this morning (February 20) to greet two warships from the Myanmar navy – the first time in 201 years that Burmese warships have been seen in Phuket’s waters.

By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Wednesday 20 February 2013, 02:38PM

The last time was in 1812 – when what was then Burma made its final attempt to take and hold the island. It failed.

Today’s much friendlier visit marks 65 years of diplomatic relations between Thailand and Myanmar.

Around 50 people gathered this morning around 9am to welcome the two fast attack gun craft, each displacing 213 tonnes.

Aboard the ships were 68 sailors from the Myanmar Navy, including Captain Aung Zaw Hlaing, Commander of No 1 Fleet; Lieutenant Commander Moe Kyaw Aung, Commanding Officer of UMS-561; and Lieutenant Commander Ye Htun Lin, Commanding Officer of UMS-562.

Captain Aung told local media he was pleased to be in Phuket, and said the navy looked forward to continuing its good relationship with the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) in the future.

When asked by a reporter about what he thinks of the Rohingya boatpeople coming to Thailand, he did not reply.

The Royal Thai Navy last visited Myanmar seven years ago.

The officers will enjoy a dinner tonight with the Royal Thai Navy Third Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Tharatorn Kajitsuwan. The crews will take on the RTN at various sports tomorrow. The two warships will return to Myanmar on Saturday (February 23).

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