Thailand’s Foreign Minister and recently appointed Deputy Prime Minister Don Pramudwinai has for the last several years reportedly refused to meet with diplomats from most western countries outside of courtesy calls, multiple diplomatic sources told Thai Enquirer.
According to 11 diplomatic officials from 10 countries including members of the European Union, NATO treaty members and Oceania countries, Don has shunned meetings with ambassadors and officials from their countries and has preferred to hold discussions with diplomats from Russia, China, North Korea and other countries more sympathetic to the Thai political situation.
Don was appointed by the military junta to the foreign minister post in 2015, a role he continued after elections when the military-backed Palang Pracharat Party formed the current government. He has even been elevated to a deputy prime minister position in a recent cabinet reshuffle in reward for his loyalty.
As foreign minister, he has on multiple occasions defended the military junta and Thailand’s democratization process, including a recent statement that said foreigners should not interfere into Thailand’s governance and downplaying recent student protests.
According to one western diplomat, who requested anonymity to protect relations between the two countries, the embassy has simply given up trying to schedule a meeting with Don as they have been denied on at least five separate occasions.
“It has gotten so bad that we have simply given up and instead go through the permanent secretary or the deputy foreign minister who is still carrying out their duties,” the diplomat told Thai Enquirer.
“Don has simply refused to meet with us,” she said.
The Thai Foreign Ministry has denied the findings and say that all allegations were “incorrect.”
“Even though the foreign minister’s schedule has been extremely busy especially at the current period where the government is focusing on reviving the country’s post-COVID economy, the FM is, in fact, open for discussion with diplomatic representatives, including Western diplomats, on substantive issues, if requested and if time permits,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement to Thai Enquirer.