Senior General Min Aung Hlaing welcomes Chief of Defence Forces of Royal Thai Armed Forces General Ponpipaat Benyasri,holds talks on friendship between two armed forces, presents Honorary Medal of Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services

Nay Pyi Taw, February 7

Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing welcomed Chief of Defence Forces of Royal Thai Armed Forces General Ponpipaat Benyasri, with the Guard of Honour, in front of Zeyathiri Beikman here this morning.

First, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and General Ponpipaat Benyasri took the salute of the Guard of Honour, and inspected it. Then, the bilateral introduction of senior military officers of the two sides followed.

Also present at the ceremony together with the Senior General were Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Commander-in-Chief (Army) Vice-Senior General Soe Win, Chief of the General Staff (Army, Navy and Air) General Mya Tun Oo, Commander-in-Chief (Navy) Admiral Tin Aung San,Commander-in-Chief (Air) General Maung Maung Kyaw and senior military officers from the Office of the Commander-in-Chief(Army). The Chief of Defence Forces of the Royal Thai Armed Forces was accompanied by Air Chief Marshal Winchai Nushkasem and senior military officers of the Royal Thai Armed Forces and the military attachés(Army, Navy and Air) of Royal Thai Armed Forces to Myanmar.

The Thai General signed the visitors’ book of the Zeyathiri Beikman and held talks with the Senior General at the Parlour.

At the meeting, the Senior General said there is a strong bond of brotherly friendship between the Royal Thai Armed Forces and the Myanmar Tatmadaw. The two armed forces have held talks on and made cooperation in multiple sectors. The experiences shared between the two armed forces have produced new initiatives and excellent means for establishing Standard Armed Forces and cooperation between the two countries. The Senior General said his efforts to enhance the bilateral friendship established by the past successive Commander-in-Chiefs, since he was assigned to the current post, have been gaining success. The coordination and cooperation between the Chief of Defence Forces and the chiefs of (Army, Navy and Air) of the Royal Thai Armed Forces and the Commander-in-Chiefs (Army, Navy and Air) of the Tatmadaw under his command have reached the satisfactory level. The two armed forces are always seeking ways to enhance cooperation and friendship. The two countries must continue to join hands,with the strength of collaboration, as ASEAN members as well as neighbours.

In his discussion, the Chief of Defence Forces said the friendship and amicability between the two armed forces of the two countries have been better thanks to former military leaders. Currently, leaders of the Royal Thai Armed Forces are also doing their best in the interests of the country and the people. He then convened the message of Chairman of Privy Council of Thailand General Prem Tinsulanonda wishing the Senior General to be healthy and capable of serving his duties earnestly for the good of Myanmar and adding that he is an important person for the country. He continued to say that like the Myanmar Tatmadaw, the Royal Thai Armed Forces still plays an important role in the country. Best efforts will be exerted taking lessons from political history of both countries. Myanmar’s political developments are being studied. As there are a lot of supporters for the Tatmadaw, its correct stance and achievement will be known in the long run. The cooperation between the two armed forces has never lost, but it is improving day by day. Based on sincerity between the two countries and between the two armed forces,it is undeniable that cooperation between neighbours and among ASEAN countries has been deepened. Cooperation will continue even at middle and lower levels.

Then, both sides discussed sincere activities and duties of the armed forces of the two countries in the interests of their peoples,the important support from neighbouring Thailand in the signing of NCA in 2015 as part of Myanmar’s internal peace process, paving the way for armed ethnic groups to enter peace dialogue by announcing a unilateral ceasefi re on 21 December 2018 and talks with armed ethnic groups. They frankly exchanged views on correctly walking along the way of democracy, situations of urging to reach the way of peace with four points—to participate in election as political party if they want to join politics, to legally do businesses if they want to operate business,to discharge military services if they want to defend and to live peacefully if they want to live peacefully, undertaking of DDR/SSR processes in line with the said four points similar to that of international community,further promotion of cooperation in drug eradication between the two countries,participation of the Myanmar Tatmadaw in national politics under the law due to situation of the State, its plan to systematically carry out the tasks under the political system when the country is rest assured in political situation without instability, needs of political stability and strengthening of the Tatmadaw for existence of the State, efforts of armed forces of both countries to carry out protection, help, safeguarding and stand for the people for the sake of State affairs but for self-interest, situations to make strenuous efforts to become the Tatmadaw on which the people rely, no single problem between the two countries due to frank cooperation between two armed forces of both countries from upper to bottom levels, exchange of cultural troupes and sports contingents,increased exchange of goodwill visits from up to bottom levels, cooperation in return of Myanmar citizens from IDP camps of Thailand to Myanmar, plan of safeguarding Myanmar citizens working in Thailand under the law,and arrangements of beefi ng up the mutual cooperation and friendly relations between the two armed forces to reach higher level.

After the meeting, the Senior General presented and decorated an Honorary Medal of the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services to Chief of Defence Forces General Ponpipaat Benyasri of Royal Thai Armed Forces. It was the first ever presentation of the medal to foreign commander-in-chiefs, and General Ponpipaat Benyasri was conferred on the medal first and foremost. The Chief of Defence Forces of Royal Thai Armed Forces said he specially took pride of receiving the honorary medal. Later, the Senior General and the Thai General had documentary photos together with those present after exchanging commemorative gifts.

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