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Thailand Going 'All-Out' For Stability: Minister

Friday, May 21, 2010

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Thai Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij criticized the recent anti-government protests in his country as "disruptive, violent and extremely disturbing," during a keynote speech at a Tokyo forum Friday.

The minister called for understanding of the government's use of force in dealing with protestors, but stressed that the government hopes to resolve the problem through negotiations and is going all-out to restore domestic stability as soon as possible.

Korn said the tension is starting to ease, and that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's plan to hold a general election in November could be realized if the situation allows.

He acknowledged that the political turmoil is hurting the nation's economy, saying GDP may fall 0.3-0.5% as a result. But the minister expressed confidence that Thailand will maintain positive growth in 2010.

Korn said the negative impact on the manufacturing and export industries would be minimized because they are mainly located outside Bangkok, where the protests are centered.

He made the comments at the annual Future of Asia conference, which is sponsored by Nikkei Inc. and ends Friday.

(The Nikkei May 21 evening edition)

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.