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US Amabassador Kristie Kenney on her flying visit to Phuket today

US Ambassador Talks Scams and Safety, Praises Phuket's Beauty

Wednesday, June 12, 2013
PHUKET: US Ambassador Kristie Kenney mentioned tourist scams on Phuket - including jet-skis - in talks today with Phuket Governor Maitree Intrusud.

She said the meeting had been aimed at ''continuing to keep Phuket a safe place as more tourists come.'' She added that there were ''always areas where things can improve.''

Questioned about the recent shuttle bus stopwork during the visit of the aircrafi carrier USS Nimitz and warship USS Princeton, Ambassador Kenney said that she was sure that US Navy personnel would continue to visit Phuket.

''They love coming to Phuket to enjoy the scenery, the beaches, and of course the amazing Thai food,'' she said.

Later, Governor Maitree told the media that Ambassador Kenney had said that the US Navy visitors spent 400 million baht on Phuket during their short visit.

He was speaking after meeting with the ambassador and Vice Governor Dr Sommai Preechasin in private talks at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City.

The ambassador also met earlier in the day with Phuket Police Commander Chote Chawanwiwat. Representatives from the Department of Special Investigations and Immigration were scheduled to join those talks.

Ambassador Kenney said she thanked the governor, the vice governor and the commander for taking good care of Americans on Phuket but revealed few details about either of the Phuket meetings.

Officials had been ''extremely helpful whenever we have had difficulties or problems,'' she said.

Ambasador Kenney told the media that she had been to Phuket as a tourist several times and enjoyed her visits.

Regular flights from Bangkok and Singapore made Phuket easy to reach for a holiday, she said.

One one break, she said, as she used her Thai language skills, the taxi driver had asked if she was an English teacher.

''I am amazed that this island gets so many millions of tourists and still retains its beauty,'' she said.

The ambassador was to have lunch with Americans on the island before visiting Satree Phuket School and an island museum before flying back to Bangkok.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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So a fairly pointless visit then?

Posted by stu on June 12, 2013 18:58

Editor Comment:

No on what we think was said behind closed doors.

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Get the Chinese ambassador back for some face to face time, he prefers the up front straight talking route rather than the behind closed doors no loss of face route.

Posted by Scunner on June 12, 2013 19:44

Editor Comment:

The Chinese Ambassador is nobody's lackey, Scunner, not even yours. I am sure he will take appropriate action as he sees fit, and not wish you to take offense if he doesn't follow your instructions. He has to deal with enough opinionated people as it is, I am fairly sure. Why not give him a call direct, if your mandarin is up to it? He speaks good Thai and probably English, too. To get that far in the China's diplomatic order, you have to care about what you are doing. We hope his frankness is rewarded.

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Wikileaks will post the US internal memo soon for us all to read!

Posted by Manowar on June 12, 2013 20:39

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300 million baht spent by the Navy on taxi fares - the rest enjoying themselves, 555.

Posted by Mister Ree on June 12, 2013 22:18

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Mr Ed - maybe time to re-read Scunner's comment in the cold light of day- it seems to me he was praising the Ambassador's no nonsense approach, not knocking it! Bear in mind the Gov was away in Europe during his visit to Phuket.

Posted by Mister Ree on June 12, 2013 22:21

Editor Comment:

Scunner wants to ''get the Chinese ambassador back.'' If that's what he wants, he should make the call. He could contact his own ambassador and make a few suggestions, too. Telling people what to do here achieves nothing.

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@Menowar: If, then this one will leak on Phuketwan, as one PW journalist seem to have the special relations to visa officers in the US embassy.

But the different approaches of the envoys are striking. The Chinese with harsh language, the American with subtle cynicism.

One can see which country can use the stick and which needs the carrott.

Posted by Lena on June 13, 2013 00:18

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It all sounds a little too cosy.
Nice cup of coffee and a chat, followed by a PR visit to a school.
C'mon madam Ambassador, tell the bloke a few facts of life, and stop fannying around pretending to be a "diplomat",

Posted by jimbo34 on June 13, 2013 03:28

Editor Comment:

We have no knowledge of what went on behind the closed doors, jimbo34, which is usually where diplomats tell administrators a little more. That's what made the Chinese ambassador's speech so surprising. Diplomats are usually diplomatic.

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Puhleeze.. The reason sailors vote to visit Phuket isn't for the scenery or food - when will we all stop pretending prostitution isn't THE motivator for foreigners to visit - why not institutionalize it? Oh wait , well I mean legally institutionalize, and get the pimps out of the equation.

Posted by Media Watcher on June 13, 2013 09:49

Editor Comment:

Poor old Media Watcher, living in the past. Families and sailors who want to have wholesome fun - including an increasing female proportion - constitute the bulk of Phuket's tourists. Prostitution was happening in Thailand long before the tourists arrived and will still be here when they've all gone.

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What seems to be the point of the visit if they aren't going to release what was discussed. Maybe it was just a junket for her and a waste of tax payers dollars.

Posted by Damien on June 13, 2013 09:57

Editor Comment:

Being transparent is what we advocate. Some ambassadors' meetings are open, others not, depending on the people involved. For a time, an officious busybody closed all meetings. These days, a more sensible approach is taken . . . but diplomacy will always involve private conversations, and speculation about what was said. Make the point about your preference for open hearings to your own embassy.

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Female service-er,-men are the minority, and I bet they vote for elsewhere. And I'm not debating the roots of prostitution, I'm saying it is a major draw, but in the grey legality contributes to corruption, make it legal or rather enforce the senible existing law that only criminalizes third party profit, Then it's safer, and taxable and allows the worker to contribute to society, not the mafias.

Posted by Media Watcher on June 13, 2013 14:01

Editor Comment:

I bet your guesswork is wrong. Perhaps some of the crew from an American warship can tell us about this one?
Prostitution is universal. There is no real ''mafia'' on Phuket, fortunately.


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