The current political situation in Thailand should be seen as part of the Kingdom’s evolving political development under a democratic system of governance. A statement issued by the Department of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says that life in the capital and the rest of the Kingdom continues as usual.
According to the statement, Thai people have the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, as enshrined in the Thai Constitution. At the same time, the Government has exercised utmost restraint, allowing demonstrations to continue within the bounds of the law and avoiding the use of force. Certain media reports, however, have portrayed a rather severe picture of Thailand based on a few isolated incidents. This does not correspond to the real situation on the ground.
The statement explains that the demonstrations are not as widespread as reported and are now in fact limited to only a few city blocks in Bangkok – notably at the Government House compound and its immediate vicinity. They have therefore caused only minimal disruptions to the normal life of the people and the Kingdom’s economic activity. The state of emergency announced on 2 September 2008 was lifted on September 14, as risks of confrontation between opposing political groupings had dissipated.
The political situation in general and the demonstrations, in particular, do not pose any risk to the safety of foreigners living in or visiting Thailand. As life goes on as usual in almost all of Bangkok and the rest of Thailand, the Kingdom’s tourist attractions and shopping districts remain unaffected, safe, and open for business as usual. Hotels and other travel-related infrastructure and services, including all airports, operate as normal. Train services throughout the country have resumed full operations. Roadways are open, with only certain roads in Bangkok around the Government House compound remaining closed. Public utilities and communication services operate uninterrupted, contrary to reports of possible disruptions.
Even now, hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors continue to travel to Thailand every week, which reflects their confidence in the country. To ease any concern that visitors may have in traveling to Thailand, the Thai authorities involved have stepped up measures to ensure their safety and to facilitate their travel, both to and within the country.
The statement also says that Thailand’s economic fundamentals remain strong, unaffected by the current political situation. The country’s seaports and other economic infrastructure are operating as usual. Foreign businesses, especially those already operating in Thailand and able to see for themselves the real situation on the ground, continue to have confidence in the Kingdom.
On the Government’s part, investments in the development of infrastructure will continue, and major projects are in the pipeline for implementation to expand the country’s transportation system and infrastructure. Welcoming and promoting trade and investment with foreign partners has been a constant feature of the policy of any Thai government. The reality of Thailand’s economic interdependence with the global market naturally ensures that these policies will continue unchanged, with the Thai economy remaining open for business as usual.
While this is the current situation, the Government will continue to do its utmost to ensure that life goes on as normal and that airports, seaports, and other transportation services are not disrupted, so as not to inconvenience either locals or foreigners.