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US worries over Thai royal succession

June 23, 2011

American diplomats have expressed their concerns over Thailand’s royal succession, as has been revealed by leaked cables.

The documents suggest that Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, next in line to succeed his father, is currently in poor health. US officials also have worries about how he is regarded by the Thai public. His father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, aged 83, has spent much of the last two years in hospital.

In Thailand, there are strict laws that prohibit any criticism of the ruling monarchy. Those found guilty of offences under the lese majeste law can find themselves receiving anything up to a 15 year jail term.

The concerns of America embassy officials have been publicised by Andrew MacGregor Marshall, a journalist, in a number of British newspapers. He left his post at Reuters news agency as they refused to publish the claims.

Talking to the media, Marshall stressed that the Thai people have a genuine love of their king and are highly protective of him, which might have caused people to be turned against saying anything that attacks the monarchy.

Marshall went on to say that the Thai military and palace courtiers have been meddling in Thai politics for years, allowing them to hide under the lese majeste umbrella.

The documents, publicised only a matter of days before the general election in Thailand, were reportedly penned by America diplomats over a number of years.  Among other things, they voice concerns about how the prince is perceived in his country and whether or not the country will face a challenging moment of truth once the king passes.

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