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  Kasit Piromya  
Profile
Name: Kasit Piromya
Date of Birth: 15 December 1944
Place of Birth: Thonburi, Bangkok
Religion: Buddhist
Nationality: Thai
Profession: Diplomat
Political Party: Democrat Party
Position: Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand
Appointed: 2008
Education: • Bangkok Christian College
• St. Joseph's College, Darjeeling, India
• Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University
• International Affairs, Georgetown School of Foreign Service, U.S. (1968)
• International Relations, Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands (1971)
• National Defense College (1990)
Background: • 3rd Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1968)
• 3rd Secretary, News Analysis Division, Dept. of Information (1969)
• 3rd Secretary, SEATO Division, Dept. of International Organizations (1972)
• 3rd & 2nd Secr., Thai Embassy & European Union Mission, Brussels (1975)
• 2nd Secretary, International Economic Affairs Div., (1979)
• 1st Secretary, Office of the Director-General, Economic Affairs Dept. (1979)
• Director, Commerce and Industry Div., ASEAN Dept. (1981)
• Director, Economic Information Div., Dept. of Economic Affairs (1983)
• Director, Policy and Planning Div., Office of the Permanent Secretary (1984)
• Deputy Director-General, Dept. of Economic Affairs (1985)
• Ambassador Attached to the Ministry (European Affairs) (1988)
• Director-General, Dept. of International Organizations (1988)
• Ambassador of Thailand to:
  – Soviet Union and Mongolia (1991)
  – Russian Federation and Mongolia (1992-1993)
  – Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (1994-6)
  – Germany (1997-2001)
• Ambassador attached to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and seconded to the Prime Minister Secretariat Office (2001)
• Adviser to Deputy PM and Commerce Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, and Banthoon Lamsam (Kasikorn Thai Bank)
• Ambassador of Thailand to Japan (2001)
• Ambassador of Thailand to the United States (2004-5)
• Adviser to the Senate Committee (2006)
• Democrat Party-List Candidate (2006)
• Adviser to the Democrat Party and PAD Movement (2006-2008)
• Democrat Shadow Deputy Prime Minister (2008)
• Minister of Foreign Affairs (2008 – present)
Thai Politicos

Career Diplomat and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand

Kasit Piromya – Thailand's Foreign Minister

Career Notes

• As ambassador to Russia, Kasit staged a walkout from a meeting with Russia’s first deputy minister of foreign economic relations Oleg Davidov, following Oleg’s claim that he knew nothing about overdue debt repayments and barter trade proposals from Thailand.

• On 27 March 2001, Kasit was transferred from the embassy in Germany to the foreign affairs ministry in Bangkok to serve as an adviser to PM Thaksin Shinawatra. Surapong Jayanama, the former director general of the East Asian Affairs department and a reported critic of the forward engagement policy with Myanmar, replaced Kasit as ambassador to Germany.

• In 2001, responding to comments from a senior official from the Foreign Ministry about Thailand’s hiring of foreign consultants, Kasit said the tendency to employ foreigners reflected a Thai "fear of thinking and those who think." It must be eradicated. He further added, “vast amounts are spent on foreign consultants... we don't want to think for ourselves... we must stop being afraid of thinking."

• As ambassador to Japan, Kasit launched a campaign to raise awareness about the plight of Thai women who are lured or forced into prostitution in Japan. According to Kasit, "many Thai women are illegal immigrants [in Japan], but the Japanese authorities are not willing to link their situation to the issue of human-smuggling rings, although they are two sides of the same coin." Kasit also slammed Thai immigration authorities at Don Muang airport for aiding and abetting the human traffickers who move women between Thailand and Japan.

• In September 2003, at the Golden Garuda awards ceremony, PM Thaksin recognized Kasit and eight other high-level officials for their outstanding government service. PM Thaksin also recognized the wives of the winning officials with a significant cash reward. PM declared, "I am giving their wives ฿100,000 each. This is a token of my appreciation for taking good care of their husbands and children."

• Kasit supported Thaksin’s policy of appointing non-career diplomats as ambassadors. According to Kasit, "It was a political decision to appoint non-career diplomats and transfer officials from other ministries to act as ambassador and we should not argue with it, unless the criteria or the process of picking the head of the mission seems irrational or helps politicians' cronies."

• In 2005, while serving as ambassador to the US, Kasit sent a report to the Foreign Ministry objecting to the idea of hiring lobbyists from Washington DC to support Surakiart Sathirathai’s bid to replace Koffi Annan as UN secretary general. In a telex message sent to Bangkok on his last day in office, Kasit wrote that the US had shown no support for Surakiart, saying that President Bush had implied that Surakiart was not a brand name and unmarketable in the areas of human rights, democracy and leadership. Surakiart’s candidacy eventually became a mute issue after the appointment of Supachai Panichpakdi as chief of the UN Conference on Trade and Development – the UN does not traditionally appoint people from the same country to two top posts at the same time.

• As ambassador to the US, Kasit also pushed the US to reconsider its hard-line sanctions policy against Myanmar, saying the generals would respond better to engagement. On sanctions, Kasit stated, "You sanction a country, you are denying certain help to the human misery inside… You cannot leave them in limbo. We are trying to speak to the Burmese in a very friendly and open matter, as much as we can."

• In February 2006, following Thaksin’s sale of Shin Corp. [on 23 January 2006], Kasit questioned Thaksin’s adherence to Buddhist principles, saying, "He [Thaksin] is making things worse for himself and proving that he is not interested in the Buddhist way of life. He cannot just talk about the votes he got at the election and ignore the need to lead the country in a moral way."

• On 7 March 2006, Kasit, along with 98 academics and public figures, signed a petition asking the King to appoint a prime minister. As an adviser to the Senate Committee, Kasit said that Article 7 provided a flexible and brilliant answer when the Kingdom it is in a state of crisis. Susan Sutton, then a political counselor at the US Embassy, asked what the impact on Thai democracy would be of asking the King to enforce Article 7 of the Constitution and eject a duly elected prime minister.

• Ten days after signing the petition, Kasit joined Asda Jayanama, former ambassador to the UN, Surapong Jayanama, a former ambassador attached to the Foreign Ministry, to speak at a PAD rally overseen by Bangkok Senator Chirmsak Pinthong (Chimsak’s wife Kritiya was an ambassador to Norway). Former ambassadors criticized Thaksin’s foreign policy record, accusing him of using his position as PM to enrich himself and his cronies. The ambassadors spoke specifically about Thaksin’s two trips to India (allegedly for Shin Corp.), soured Thai-Cambodia relations, FTA negotiations with the US, worsening relations between Thailand and Malaysia, a Burmese satellite project funded by a four-billion-baht loan (allegedly for Shin Corp.), and the nomination of Surakiart Sathirathai for the post of UN secretary-general. Kasit boldly stated at the rally, "In civilised countries, a politician who takes power but still keeps the family business must be compelled to leave."

• On 23 August 2006, the Democrat party approved Kasit and Kanok Wongtrangan, a former deputy university affairs permanent secretary as party-list candidates for the scheduled 15 October general election.

• Providing justification for the 19 September 2006 military coup, Kasit told the Christian Science Monitor, "There was no peaceful solution because Thaksin didn't play by the rules of the game; he only played by his own rules. We have tried all possible means to remove Thaksin. Thailand has not been a democracy for the past five years. Thaksin turned the whole democratic system into an authoritarian regime." In a Bangkok Post article he said, "Thailand is making a messy house nice again, with transparency. We are saying that this will be done within a one-year period. The interim government is expected to be set up within two weeks. The country's ambition [after the coup] is moving toward democracy, not dictatorship."

• Kasit participated in the writing of a black paper by the Democrat party entitled "Menus for Corruption in Thaksin's Regime", giving details of 34 Thaksin-era projects suspected of corruption. The party released the paper in February 2007.

• In May 2007, Kasit became one of Thailand’s four nominees to replace Ong Keng Yong as Secretary-General of ASEAN. Joining Kasit were foreign minister Surin Pitsuwan (eventual winner), former Thai ambassador to the United Nations Khunying Laxanachantorn Laohaphan, and former Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Virasakdi Futrakul.

• Kasit spoke out almost immediately against the Samak Sundaravej government in February 2008. He said he was disappointed with new foreign minister Noppadon Pattama’s lecturing of reporters on what action should be taken on Thaksin’s red diplomatic passport, instead of providing a detailed plan on how the government would restore Thailand’s international credibility. He also said the new government had neglected a number of important issues such as the parliament's ratification of the ASEAN Charter (signed during the CNS [military appointed] government); what role Thailand would play in the United Nations, World Bank, and WTO; and how to address cross-border issues.

• On the Preah Vihear Temple – UNESCO World Heritage Site controversy, Kasit criticized the Samak government for the lack of transparency and failure to inform the public about government decisions. Kasit said, “This is a very sensitive issue on both sides of the border. The [Thai] government should have informed the people from the beginning. The suspicion is that there are dealings under the table." The Constitutional Court ruled that the government was wrong when it signed a joint communiqué with Cambodia without consulting parliament. Samak foreign minister Noppadon Pattama later resigned over the issue.

• As chairperson of the Good Governance Promotion Association, Kasit said in October 2008 that greater public support should be given to companies that encourage Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and good governance practices. He said, ''We need to push CSR practices at the political level as currently there is no political party that offers CSR policy. Without political leadership, Thailand's private sector is reluctant [to embrace CSR].''

• On 22 November 2008, the Bangkok Post reported that the Democrat party had shortlisted Kasit as possible Democrat Party candidate in the upcoming Bangkok gubernatorial election. The other shortlisted candidates were Korn Chatikavanij, Kaewsan Atipho, and M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra.

• In 2008, Kasit actively supported the PAD in its drive to bring down the pro-Thaksin PPP-led governments of Samak Sundaravej and Somachai Wongsawat. Kasit attended and spoke at PAD rallies, hailed the PAD’s seizure of the international airports, and defended the group’s activities as being “part of the democratic process”. Speaking on the airport seizure, Kasit made media headlines when he said that the atmosphere at the protests was “a lot of fun” and that “the food was good and the music was excellent”. Kasit even characterize the airport takeover as a “new innovation for public protests”. Kasit later said his comments were taken out of context and apologized.

• On 20 December 2008, PM Abhisit Vejjajiva appointed Kasit as Foreign Minister. Prior to the appointment, Kasit was not a sitting member of the parliament. In an interview with the BBC, Kasit outlined the Democrat Party’s foreign policy agenda.

• Thai media reported that in the beginning of July 2009, 16 people, including the leaders of PAD, Sondhi Limthongkul, Chamlong Srimuang, Somsak Kosaisuk, Somkiat Pongpaibul and Pibhop Dhongchai have been charged with criminal offences in relation to the airport blockades. Mr. Somsak is now leader of the New Politics Party, the political arm of the PAD. Foreign Minister, Kasit Piromya, is among those charged with closing of Suvarnabhumi Airport. It has been announced that Kasit will not make any decision about his political future until charges are filed against him in court.

• Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva remained firm in allowing Kasit to continue his work, particularly chairing the high-profile ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Phuket next week. Abhisit added that Kasit was cooperating with the police investigation and that was not impairing his job or credibility. The legal process would be allowed to run its course.



  Who's Who in Thai Politics  

Prem Tinsulanonda

Thaksin Shinawatra

Abhisit Vejjajiva

Sondhi Limthongkul

Samak Sundaravej

Somchai Wongsawat

Chuan Leekpai

Chavalit Yongchaiyudh

Banharn Silpa-archa

Newin Chidchob

Sanan Kachornprasart

Sanoh Tienthong

Surayud Chulanont
Kasit Piromya - Foreign Minister
Kasit Piromya

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Cross-Reference of Titles Related to Thailand – Its History and Politics
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