In Bangkok visit, China’s Wang Yi seeks to cast Beijing as Thailand’s ‘big friend’



a group of people on a motorcycle in front of a crowd: An anti-government rally engulfed central Bangkok on Wednesday, just before the arrival of China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, for a meeting Thursday with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. Photo: AFP


© AFP
An anti-government rally engulfed central Bangkok on Wednesday, just before the arrival of China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, for a meeting Thursday with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. Photo: AFP

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi was due to arrive on Wednesday night in Thailand, a country central to Beijing’s strategy for Asia at a time the kingdom is facing a double hit from a pandemic-flattened economy and political turmoil.

In the big superpower square-off between the US and China, Thailand plays an oversized role.

Bordering Laos, the kingdom is China’s gateway to the Mekong region, while its endless coastline offers the promise of trade, ports, economic zones and mass tourism.

Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.

Thailand used to be staunchly in the US camp, bound together through defence and economic ties forged during the Vietnam

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Holidays: Britons ditch holiday favourites in 2021 for these top five destinations | Travel News | Travel

Earlier this year, thousands of Britons had their holiday plans cancelled as the pandemic pulled the breaks on international travel. Instead, Britons decided to go on holiday in the UK, ditching flights overseas for something closer to home. But with many missing the opportunity to travel overseas, Britons are looking to broaden their horizons and truing out some new destinations.

1. Orlando

The USA has been out of bounds to Britons for the majority of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, if the country opens its borders to Britons, it’s looking as though it’s likely to be a popular choice.

Mr Thorne explained that Florida is very popular with families, especially due to the abundance of theme parks.

He said: “After a year spent at home, some parents are keen to make new childhood memories with their kids and have perhaps been saving throughout 2020 in order to

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Indian airlines tap international routes under ‘travel bubbles’

NEW DELHI — At a time when the global aviation industry has been drastically hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s airlines appear to be turning the crisis into an opportunity by expanding their international operations under the ongoing “travel bubble” arrangements.

The latest company to join the bandwagon is low-budget carrier SpiceJet, which earlier this month announced that on Dec. 4 it will launch non-stop services connecting Delhi and Mumbai with London’s Heathrow Airport.

“For SpiceJet, this is a big step [as] it’s the first time we are starting scheduled long-haul operations,” said Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh during an online briefing to announce the London flights. The airline has until now been flying to international destinations closer to India such as Bangkok and Hong Kong.

“More importantly, we are the second-largest airline in India and connect destinations in small towns [in the country],” he said, pointing out that

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Thousands gather in Bangkok as king returns to country

Pro-democracy demonstrators make a human chain as they march during a Thai anti-government mass protest, on the 47th anniversary of the 1973 student uprising, in Bangkok, Thailand October 14, 2020.
Thousands gathered to protest in Bangkok on Wednesday, some forming human chains

Anti-government protesters in Thailand have staged a rally in Bangkok ahead of an expected motorcade carrying King Maha Vajiralongkorn, following months of escalating tension in the country.

The protesters are calling for political reforms including curbs on the powers of king, who spends most of his time outside Thailand.

They have also demanded the departure of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Supporters of the monarchy staged rival protests in the capital on Wednesday.

The two sides gathered separately along Ratchadamnoen Avenue, with many of the monarchists wearing t-shirts in the royal yellow colour. They were largely kept apart, save for a brief fistfight.

The anti-government protesters linked arms and marched chanting “Prayuth, get out!” and “Long live the people!” Police prevented them from reaching the office of the prime minister.

The royalists shouted insults at the protesters. “We want

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SQ resumes seat sales to Bangkok

SINGAPORE, 14 October 2020: Restrictions have eased to allow Singapore Airlines to sell seats on the Singapore to Bangkok sector effective 16 October 2020.

SQ has been operating some flights to Bangkok since last April with sales open only on the Bangkok – Singapore sector but not on the return leg except for official repatriation flights.

Customers can book seats on the Singapore-Bangkok flights on singaporeair.com or through the airline’s appointed travel agents.

SIA customers travelling from Bangkok could transit through
Singapore Changi Airport to destinations in the SIA Group network currently
operated by SIA, SilkAir or Scoot.

With this latest development, customers can now purchase round-trip tickets or one-way tickets to Bangkok from various destinations served by the group via the Changi airport hub. Passengers should check out the latest available destinations, flight schedules and travel advisories as travel rules related to Thailand change without prior notice and are

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Thai police arrest protesters camping out ahead of rally in Bangkok

BANGKOK: Police in Thailand have arrested several political activists who planned to camp out at the site of a rally scheduled for Wednesday (Oct 14).

The rally site is along the route the country’s king is expected to travel for an unrelated royal ceremony.

The arrests on Tuesday came after police started to tear down tents put up by the protesters, who had travelled to the capital from north-eastern Thailand. 

The protesters resisted and pushed back against the police, sparking a brawl. 

Police said they initially asked the protesters to remove the tents, but were refused.

Wednesday’s protest has been called by a coalition of mostly student-led groups that several months ago adopted three core demands: New elections, changes in the constitution to make it more democratic and an end to intimidation of political activists.

The protesters later adopted another major demand, for reform of the

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NTT Data, Bank of Ayudhya to enable QR code payment for Thais in Japan

This photo taken Sept. 29, 2020, shows a building that houses the headquarters of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. in Tokyo. (Kyodo)


BANGKOK (NNA/Kyodo) — NTT Data Corp. has partnered with Bank of Ayudhya to offer a cross-border QR code payment service to Thai consumers in Japan.


Under the deal announced Friday, the Japanese IT infrastructure giant and the Thai bank will cooperate in providing Thai nationals in Japan, mainly travelers, with the cashless payment service linked with My Prompt QR, Thailand’s electronic settlement platform operated by the country’s central bank.


NTT Data will relay payment data received from Thai consumers in Japan to My Prompt QR-issuing banks in Thailand while Ayudhya, a consolidated subsidiary of Japan’s MUFG Bank, will provide transaction data collected through a mobile banking app to its Japanese partner.


The service will be launched sometime between

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Thai Police to contact UAE embassy after reports fugitive Vorayuth lives in Dubai

BANGKOK, Oct 13 (The Nation Thailand/ANN): The Thai police will send a letter to the embassy of the United Arab Emirates inquiring about the whereabouts of Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, a fugitive in a 2012 hit-and-run case, assistant National Police chief Pol General Jaruwat Waisaya has announced.

The letter will be sent by the Foreign Affairs Division of the Royal Thai Police.

There were reports recently that Vorayuth was residing in Dubai in the UAE after global travel was restricted by the Covid-19 outbreak.

“We want to confirm with the local authorities whether he is in the UAE or not. If he is, we will coordinate with them to extradite him to Thailand so he can face trial,” he added.

The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) on Oct 2 issued a red notice to member countries to track down Vorayuth, after the Office of the Attorney-General announced in September that prosecutors

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Rex Orange County’s Asia tour in support of ‘Pony’ album has been cancelled

English singer-songwriter Rex Orange County’s Asia tour has been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The British musician was scheduled to tour in support of his 2019 album ‘Pony’ in Singapore, Manila, Jakarta, Bangkok, Tokyo and Seoul earlier this May, but had to postpone the tour following the COVID-19 outbreak.

The artist’s team have now confirmed that the tour is being scrapped altogether for the same reason: “We have tried very hard to plan for the future amongst the continuing global health crisis, but it has become clear that we’re unable to reschedule the PONY Asia tour dates to a new period that we are fully confident will go ahead.

“So it’s with deep regret that we have to cancel the Rex Orange County dates in Asia. We will look to plan a new tour when shows can go ahead again and travel is possible.”

Refund details for the

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Airlines Offering ‘Flights to Nowhere’ Amid COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

How are people who love travel coping during a pandemic that has left a lot of us stuck at home, a lot of borders closed. Right? Well, they are coping not well. Some airlines in Asia are trying to offer a solution – flights to nowhere. Seriously, these flights start and end at the exact same airport. A skeptical Michael Sullivan investigated.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHIME)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Non-English language spoken).

MICHAEL SULLIVAN, BYLINE: It’s late afternoon, and I’m standing in Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport waiting to board my flight home to Chiang Rai. It’s about an hour north. The airport is about half full. The Thai government still isn’t allowing foreign flights in due to COVID, but people here can get where they need to go in Thailand as long as they wear masks. And if the weather’s good,

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