BANGKOK – The Thai army chief has assured the public that, unlike some other Southeast Asian nations, Thailand is not immediately threatened by the rise of the Islamic State movement.
Gen. Udomdet Sitabutr delivered the comment today just before he boarded a plane to attend an international security summit between members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Hanoi, Vietnam.
"We are monitoring the expansion of the ISIS or IS terrorist movement in our neighbour countries, but there is no such thing in Thailand so far," said Gen. Udomdet. "However, we will continue to monitor the issue constantly."
Gen. Udomdet added that the ASEAN summit, which is taking between from 25-29 November, is aiming to establish a better coordination among member countries to fight terror movements and share vital intelligence.
The rise of the Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has raised concern among ASEAN countries in recent months due to reports that the movement is recruiting sympathisers from Malaysia and Indonesia to fight in their "holy war" in the Middle East.
According to Gen. Udomdet, discussions at the ASEAN summit in Hanoi will not only focus on a war on terror in the region, but also humanitarian issues.
"We want to focus on humanitarian assistance in the events of natural disasters," the army chief told reporters. "This trip will bring better cooperation. We will improve our relation and cooperation even further."
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