Sanctions on Thailand not our style: Shanmugam

Sanctions on Thailand not our style: Shanmugam
Mr Shanmugam said the uncertainty was bad for the economies of Thailand and the regional countries, and expressed hopes that the country would soon find a way of bridging the deep political differences.

SINGAPORE - Singapore is not looking to impose sanctions on Thailand or withdraw from bilateral military cooperation in the aftermath of last week's coup, Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam has said.

He was asked in an interview with the Bloomberg news agency on Monday whether Singapore would follow in the footsteps of the United States, which had announced it would be cancelling military exercises and mutual visits by US and Thai commanders to each other's facilities as a result of the coup.

"I don't think Singapore is looking at sanctions; that's not our style," Mr Shanmugam, who is also the Law Minister, told Bloomberg.

He added: "I don't think it's appropriate to talk about sanctions. The US has its own calculations. We have to respect the internal processes of Thailand."

Thai military chief Prayuth Chan-ocha seized power last Thursday after talks with warring political factions reportedly broke down. It was Thailand's 12th coup in eight decades, and came after months of anti-government protests paralysed the embattled caretaker government.

Mr Shanmugam said the uncertainty was bad for the economies of Thailand and the regional countries, and expressed hopes that the country would soon find a way of bridging the deep political differences.

"There is deep polarisation, and Thailand has to find a way of bridging that polarisation and find a structure for society that is workable for itself, and only the Thais can do it," Mr Shanmugam told Bloomberg.

He added: "Uncertainty is not good for the Thai economy and by extension it's not good for the rest of us. I think the Thai leadership recognises that."


This article was first published on May 28, 2014.
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