Chiangrai Times – Representatives of Foreign Ministry and the third Army Region will meet Friday in ChiangRai to discuss possibility of opening border passes in the province.
Foreign Minister Surapong Tohvichakchaikul said that recently local merchants of ChiangRai told the Foreign Ministry’s Buakaew mobile team that they were in need of more passes on the Thai-Myanmar border, as these passes would boost cross border trade and communications.
Local authorities in Chiang Rai wanted the passes to be opened at Pangtong in Fang district and Santondu in Mae Ai district.
Surapong Tohvichakchaikul also stated that while local merchants had said that border trades would increase if the passes were opened, the army however argued that they would facilitate the smuggling of drugs in and out the country.
The Foreign Ministry was told that Pangtong pass has been closed on and off for more than 10 years but drug problems in the area continued to increase. Putting the blame on the pass was thus not right.
The ministry will discuss with the army about the possibility of open more Thai-Lao border passes too. – Anna Wong