Thailand has had some pretty terrible ministers in recent years. Some of them incompetent, others incoherent and some just plain dull. Perhaps none has filled all of those categories at one time, until now.
An AFP report that has gone around the world tells us, if we didn’t already know it, that the military dictatorship’s foreign minister, General Tanasak Patimapragorn takes the cake as probably the dullest, most incompetent and most incoherent minister for a very long time. In this space, there have been others who were pretty awful, including Kasit Piromya, who repeatedly made mistakes due to his inability to speak to any script and for his apparent disorientation at critical times. Yet Kasit looks like an Einstein when compared with Tanasak.
The AFP report begins by acknowledging that the military dictatorship has “visibly cosied up to China since seizing power in a coup last year,” reflecting the cool relationship with Western countries following that illegal seizure of power.
Yet Tanasak has gone further and in a pres conference at an event where ASEAN members have been having trouble dealing with China on the South China Sea issue he has thrown his support behind China. This has probably flummoxed Thailand’s ASEAN partners, but Tanasak seems to care little for them. The report states that Tanasak “appears to be especially enamoured” of China. This feeling for China was ludicrously expressed as a personal love for China and its foreign minister.
Tanasak told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and the assembled press: “At this moment we believe this is the best time for our relationship. Especially for my personal contact with minister Wang Yi who is a very nice and polite person…”. He went further, saying that: “If I were a woman I will fall in love with his excellency [Wang Li]…”.
Tanasak, reportedly “a close confidant of coup leader and now Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha,” babbled on about a “relationship with China goes back more than 1,000 years” and claimed something more than a diplomatic relationship: “We … talks [sic.] like personal, like family, like friend…”.
We are sure the Chinese, Thailand’s ASEAN partners, its treaty partners and the reporters were stunned by such a diplomatic dunce.