Thailand Says Prepared To Receive 100,000 People Fleeing Myanmar

Thailand is ready to absorb 100,000 people leaving Myanmar, Bangkok’s foreign minister said Tuesday, as fighting near a key border town continued.

Thailand has a 2,400-kilometer (1,490-mile) border with Myanmar, which has been mired in civil war since the junta deposed the democratically elected government in 2021.

In recent months, Myanmar’s army has faced its most serious danger yet, as fighting from anti-junta forces has engulfed formerly quiet areas.

“We have been preparing for a while, and we can temporarily accommodate about 100,000 people in Thailand’s safe area,” Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara stated.

Thailand is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention and makes no distinction between refugees and other migrants.

Locals reported heavy skirmishes over the weekend near Myawaddy town, which is located over the border from the Thai town of Mae Sot.

During periodic increases in warfare along Thailand’s lengthy border with Myanmar, scores of civilians flee to the kingdom before returning.

There was no “mass evacuation,” but people were crossing the border, he told reporters.

However, Parnpree highlighted that the Thai-Myanmar border remained open, and trade continued to flow via Mae Sot and into Myawaddy.

“No fighting, trade is still going on, though it’s decreasing,” he said, noting that trade had declined by about 30% in the last year.

Myawaddy is Myanmar’s third busiest land crossing, according to the junta’s trade ministry, with $1.1 billion in goods flowing through in the last year.

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and top Thai officials met to discuss the border problem.

“The prime minister is concerned if the situation gets worse,” Parnpree said in a statement.

The Thai government announced on Monday that it has authorized the junta’s request to land three “special” flights in the country to return citizens.

However, since the 1980s, the monarchy has allowed tens of thousands of people leaving Myanmar to remain in informal communities near the border.

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