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China Silence Puts Hold on 3.5 Billion

The Navy may seek alternative suppliers for two off-shore patrol boats if China fails to meet guarantees imposed by Thailand.

Defence Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said cabinet yesterday postponed a decision on the 3.5 billion baht purchase, pending these guarantees.

The Navy wants to buy two new patrol boats from China, but on the condition it is a government-to-government purchase through a 100% counter-trade arrangement.

It also requires that China builds the two vessels at facilities in Thailand and installs a Chinese gun control system, to promote local employment and technology transfer.

China has yet to provide the assurances.