Saturday, September 17, 2011
Another meeting, another bear hug
Less than 24 hours after Thai Premier Yingluck Shinawatra left Phnom Penh following a one-day visit, her brother Thaksin flew into the Cambodian capital late last night. While Yingluck and her husband only had an official photo taken with Hun Sen and his wife, Thaksin got a big bear hug from Hun Sen to emphasize the closeness of their relationship.
While Yingluck's official visit lasted less than a day, Thaksin's unofficial stay will be much, much longer. He may stay until Sept 24 to attend the soccer match between the "Red Peace" team from Thailand (comprising mainly red-shirt members) and the Cambodian Cabinet team. If that's the case, Thaksin could well be in Cambodia for nearly 10 days, giving lectures about the world' economy and conducting other as yet undisclosed activities.
It is clear that the new foreign minister, Surapong Tovichakjaikul, won't be asking Cambodia to repatriate Thaksin back to Thailand. He said: "It's not the foreign ministry's duty to do that." That, of course, is a far cry from his predecessor, Kasit Piromya, who made it her personal mission to go hunting for Thaksin around the world.
Premier Yingluck's official stand on Thaksin's legal status remains ambivalent. Whether she agrees her with foreign minister or not isn't entirely clear either.