No attempt to counter US influence in SE Asia: Russian PM

No attempt to counter US influence in SE Asia: Russian PM
Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev talks to The Nation.

Russia, which is now considered by Thailand as a true friend after its ties with the United States and other countries in the West soured in the wake of the military coup, is not trying to counter American influence in this region, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said yesterday.

In an interview with Suthichai Yoon, chairman of Nation Multimedia Group, Medvedev said every country has the independence to conduct its own foreign policy. If Moscow does not intervene in the US, then Washington should not do it to Russia either, he said.

Asked if the military coup affected relations between Thailand and Russia, Medvedev said, "We try to behave in a civilised way. This is an internal process happening in Thailand and we pay attention to it and we do it with respect.

"At the same time, there are a number of countries that are worried about different events that happen in different parts of the world. All sovereign countries must solve their domestic tasks on their own," he said.

Medvedev aims to cement ties and forge co-operation in various fields, including security, economic, tourism and combating narcotic trafficking. "This friendship should create a good relationship for another 120 years," he said.

Thai officials are looking at striking security deals with Moscow in the wake of the strong reaction from western countries, notably the US, after the military coup in May last year. An adviser to Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said the current government is looking at the possibility of buying some military aircraft and defence equipment from Russia. Medvedev said Moscow was ready to talk on that matter. "If you want that, we will supply the equipment to you," he said.

Asked if Moscow is interested in having a free-trade agreement with Thailand, he said, "Thailand is not a small country. It is a large country with 65 million people. The best way to do things is through joint investment. I think this should be the best way to develop our relation. Thailand invests in Russia and vice versa."

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