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Friday, May 19, 2006

Thais say "No" to joint Malacca patrols - too expensive

Regionalism in defense of sea lanes takes a small hit as reported here, when the Thai armed forces declined an invitation to join in regional maritime patrols of the Malacca Strait, citing the cost of doing so as a reason for the refusal:
hailand turned down a Malaysian request on Friday to join in regional patrols of the Malacca Strait, deemed by international insurers a "war risk" zone, as too expensive, a military chief said.

Thai armed forces chief General Ruengroj Mahasaranond told his Malaysian counterpart Admiral Anwar Mohamad Northat Bangkok felt distant from the strait, which links Asia with the Middle East and Europe and carries some 40 percent of the world's trade. "It is very far from us," Ruengroj told reporters after the meeting in Bangkok. "It is not worth sending our ships and planes there because the costs will be extraordinary."

Malaysia, which formally established a coast guard in March, faces the biggest maritime threat of piracy on its side of the strait, through which 80 percent of the energy supplies of Japan and China are shipped.
Of course, Thailand does not depend on the Strait of Malacca for its seaborne trade from the Middle East. Now, for its trade from the Far East, I guess it'll take the free ride.

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