The Prayut Chan-ocha government has decided to delay the purchase of two more Chinese submarines until next year, the Thai-language daily Thai Rath reported today (August 31, 2020).
A source at the House committee scrutinizing the 2021 budget bill said that after China accepted the delay, the Prayut government will set up another meeting with its Chinese counterparts.
The purchase of the first of three submarines from China has already been finalized, using money from the 2017 budget. Delivery is expected in 2023.
Government Spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said the purchase of the second and third submarines, that were expected to be acquired soon, would be deferred.
Moreover, the committee on the national budget for fiscal year 2021 had requested consideration of the process by the Royal Thai Navy to discuss the matter with China.
Navy Chief-of-Staff Admiral Sittiporn Maskasem, who joined the emergency situation committee’s meeting, did not reveal any information to the media and went into the Office of the National Security Council, according to Thai Rath.