Prayut kicks off defence exhibition

Open arms extended to foreign visitors

Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha aims a rifle on display at the Defence & Security 2022 exhibition in Nonthaburi province on Monday. It was his first public appearance since being suspended as prime minister by the Constitutional Court last Wednesday.

Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha made his first public appearance since being suspended as prime minister by the Constitutional Court last week, at a defence exhibition in Nonthaburi on Monday.

In his capacity as Defence Minister, Gen Prayut, officially launched the Defence & Security 2022 exhibition, being held in the Challenger Hall at the Impact Exhibition and Convention Centre.

He declined to answer questions relating to his eight-year term limit, only saying he was in very good spirits as he toured the exhibition.

Last Wednesday, the Constitutional Court suspended Gen Prayut as prime minister until it hands down its ruling on his term limit.

The suspension order followed the court’s majority decision to accept an opposition petition calling for it to rule on whether Gen Prayut’s eight-year time limit as prime minister has expired.

The petition, signed by 171 MPs, was submitted to the court on Aug 22.

The exhibition, which runs until Sept 1, has brought together advanced weapons and state-of-the-art defence technology from more than 15 countries including the United States, France, Israel, Germany, South Korea, China and the Czech Republic.

During his opening remarks, Gen Prayut thanked foreign dignitaries, military leaders and entrepreneurs in the defence industry for putting together one of Asean’s key events.

He visited booths as he walked through the exhibition hall that included missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, satellite systems and firing control systems.

Capturing the premier’s attention were a 155mm autonomous truck-mounted gun and a US Army XM5 assault rifle.

Defence Ministry spokesman Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich said that Gen Prayut then met with Malaysian Defence Minister Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin bin Tun Hussein, to discuss bilateral military collaboration to assist with economic development and transborder security along the shared border.

“Gen Prayut and Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin both agreed on the importance of Asean unity and stressed that Asean member states must work together in order to assure balanced stability in the region,” Gen Kongcheep said.

He also greeted Fayyadh bin Hamed bin Raqed Al Ruwaili, chairman of the General Staff of Saudi Arabia’s armed forces, at the exhibition.

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Wassana Nanuam