The Commander-in-chief of the Thai Navy admiral Choengchai Chomchoengpaet on Thursday, May 18th, 2023, said it was up to the new government to make a decision on the purchase of the submarine from China.
Admiral Choengchai stated that the Thai Navy is currently following its long-term plan in procuring military equipment. This includes the replacement of aging warships and the acquisition of unmanned aircraft to replace old surveillance aircraft, a process that has been ongoing since last year.
Regarding a planned procurement of a submarine from China, he said the Navy is only in the early stage of negotiations with Chinese representatives.
China had sent its representatives to discuss the submarines with the Thai Navy at the start of this month, but the decision to accept or reject the purchase still depends on the new government, the commander-in-chief said. Every detail discussed with China must also be reported to the government, he said.
Thai media then asked Admiral Choengchai whether he would vote for the prime ministerial candidate from the Move Forward party, Pita Limjaroenrat, as the next PM. He said it is not the time to determine that yet because the election winner is only in the process of gathering coalition partners.
The Pattaya News notes that Admiral Choengchai Chomchoengpaet is one of the five junta-appointed senators who are chiefs of the armed forces and national police chief of Thailand. His statement with Thai media deviates from early reports that the chiefs of the armed forces as senators would abstain from voting no matter who is the candidate to ensure impartiality.
The senator also said that the Navy wants the government formation to be as smooth as possible. As for the military, it will follow the government’s policies, regardless of which faction it comes from.