Prayut says Myanmar violating Thai airspace to attack pro-democracy forces “not a big deal”

Thai leader said Myanmar’s violation of Thailand’s airspace was “no big deal.”

“They said it was unintentional but they made a wide turn before breaching into Thailand’s territory just a little bit and we have dispatched our fighter jets in response which was in accord with international standards,” Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha told reporters at the Ministry of Education on Friday.

“This is not a big deal,” he said.

Prayut also said that Myanmar’s military attaché already said sorry and the two countries still enjoy a “good relationship” and if there is anything then the two sides can talk.

His comments came after the Myanmar junta government’s MIG-29 fighter jet flew four to five kilometers into Thailand’s airspace over Phop Phra district in Tak province for 15 minutes on Thursday. The MIG was attacking Karen National Liberation Army’s forces on the Myanmar side.

The incident caused panic amongst locals and two schools were immediately shut down and remain close today. Around 1,000 Karen refugees were taken shelter at two villages in the district.

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) later dispatched two F-16s to patrol the area.

RTAF spokesman AVM Prapas Sonjaidee said on Thursday that the Thai air force they have also sent a letter via Thailand’s embassy in Yangon to related agencies in Myanmar to warn them and find ways to avoid such incidents from happening again in the future.

He said the two F-16s were dispatched from their base in Nakhon Sawan before arriving in the area within five to ten minutes after takeoff. The MIG already crossed back to its airspace when the two F-16s got there, he said.

On Friday, the RTAF and the Naresuan Force in Tak issued another letter to warn related agencies in Myanmar that Thailand’s arm forces are “ready to retaliate” against any breach of Thailand’s sovereignty.

Prayut said the most important thing is that Thailand’s military capability can protect its sovereignty and there might be a need to check whether the current capability is advanced enough to cope with future threats.

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