>Somchai and Hun Sen to meet in Beijing

> Picture: Mr. Somchai Wongsawat.

Army chief Gen Anupong Paochinda and commander of the Thai armed forces, General Songkitthi Jakkabatra were tight-lipped following their meetings with Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat at the Don Mueang Airport yesterday morning.

The two generals, together with Foreign Ministry’s permanent secretary, Veerasak Futrakul, met with Somchai reportedly to finalise planning for their upcoming meeting between Somchai and his Cambodian counterpart, Hun Sen, in Beijing.

They met for about an hour at the Don Mueang Airport, the temporary workplace for the Somchai Administration after the Government House was taken over by members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD).

Veerasak said Somchai is going to Beijing to attend the seventh Asia-Europe Summit during which he is expected to hold a bilateral meeting with Hun Sen.

Ties between Thailand and Cambodia reached a low ebb after a diplomatic spat turned into a gunfight along the common overlapping borders where soldiers from both countries have been conducting patrols for decades.

The two countries agreed last August to carry out troop reduction and withdraw from the area but were unable to live up to their pledges.

Government spokesman Nutthawut Saikua told reporters Somchai had informed the Cabinet about the upcoming meeting with Hun Sen.

Somchai, who has been in power for only one month but is already rattled by the local political turmoil, was forced to cancel traditional familiarisation visits to neighbouring Laos, Cambodia, Singapore, and Burma.

Meanwhile, Thai and Cambodian military officials are scheduled to hold talks today in Siem Reap aimed at calming the territorial dispute.

Earlier emergency talks ended with Cambodian and Thai officials agreeing to joint border patrols — which have not yet started — but offered no lasting solution to the military standoff along the border.

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