US ambassador not leaving Thailand just yet

The US ambassador to Thailand, Kristie Kenney, has denied rumours she is being reassigned out of the Kingdom to South Korea for allegedly being too involved in local politics.

Anti-government protesters gathered in front of the US Embassy last year to express their anger over Kenney's supposed stance in not taking sides with them.

Persistent rumours among protesters and friends since then claimed Washington had picked a new ambassador with a better understanding of the political situation in Thailand.

Kenney was asked through social media, including Facebook and Twitter, yesterday to confirm whether she was leaving the country. Social media even named James Zumwalt, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, as her replacement.

The ambassador replied via @KristieKenney to several Twitter accounts questioning her movements. For example, @PatricLand asked @KristieKenney: "Morning krub... Is it true about the rumour that you have been assigned to South Korea krub?"

@KristieKenney replied to @PatricLand "not true. Someone has a really good imagination."

@pani_toey asked "why do you have to go?" @KristieKenney replied "don't believe rumours, I'm still here despite the wild ideas you might see on line".

The embassy's Facebook page |yesterday posted clarification saying that Ambassador Kenney is flattered at the interest in her career.

"Since her arrival in January 2011, Ambassador Kenney's three-year tour in Thailand has been extended. Ambassador Kenney won't be leaving until later this year and remains very focused on her responsibilities in Thailand."

"The next US Ambassador to Thailand has not yet been nominated by the US President or confirmed by the US Senate," according to the embassy Facebook page.

Shortly after the embassy statement, pro-protest American writer Michael Yon posted in his Facebook page: "Bad News from US Embassy, Bangkok. I told some generals the other day that I would buy Ambassador Kenney a first-class ticket back to America. They laughed and said please do it!"