Better understanding about Thailand
Having read W. Scott Thompson and Oliver Geronilla's article, “Mislabeling Thai conflict,” published on Nov. 26, I wish to make a few points to set the record straight.
First, it is indeed an oversimplification to label the political situation in Thailand as a “play-out” between two groups and to label them as representing any particular individuals in Thai society.
Both do not stand for the majority of more than 60 million Thais and ― within their respective circles ― comprise people from mixed backgrounds driven by different motives. Furthermore, it would be a worse mistake to claim that any group represents His Majesty the King, as the Thai king is above partisan politics and has never taken side.
Second, it is misleading to describe the Thai political situation as a “zero sum game” between the so-called elite and its opponents. Political differences do exist and since the protests last April and May, tremendous efforts have been made at reconciliation.
One main component of the government's reconciliation plan is to bridge the problem of economic and social disparity, which despite growth and progress continues to exist in Thai society ― as they do in other countries.
The National Reform Committee chaired by former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun ― in consultation with various sectors in the society ― will be coming up with recommendations for necessary reform which will eventually be proposed to the public and the government for consideration.
Third, that the new Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army General Prayuth Chan-ocha has pledged to protect the monarchy should not be over-exaggerated.
For over 700 years, the Thai monarchy has been a vital institution contributing to the country's growth and security; it is an integral part of the Thai nationhood. It should therefore come as no surprise that the government and the Thai people are protective of this highly revered institution.
Finally, on the issue of royal succession, there is no uncertainty as there are clearly stipulated rules and procedures as to what will happen should the need arise.
While His Majesty the King's reign has been exceptional, given what he has done for his people for more than 60 years, it is presumptuous to express doubts or speculate about the heir apparent based upon rumors and wild conjectures.
The Thai Embassy