11 July 2024

The Education Ministry has decided to remove a post from its Facebook page showing a meeting between its minister and the North Korean ambassador to Thailand after it went viral and faced harsh criticism from netizens. However, the ministry kept the post on its website.

The post in question features photos of a meeting between Permpoon Chidchob and Ambassador Kim Je Bong on January 19 at the ministry. It stated that the envoy paid a courtesy call on the minister to congratulate him on his appointment last September.

The main discussion revolved around education in each country.

What drew negative criticism, however, was when the Thai minister expressed his admiration for what he referred to as North Korea’s success in building discipline, teaching patriotism and fostering respect for leadership among students.

The minister said he wanted to learn about instilling discipline among students from North Korea.

“I believe that North Korea not only has disciplined people but also maintains traditional culture and traditions. Given the opportunity, I hope to visit North Korea to study its culture and exchange experiences,” the minister was quoted as telling the envoy.

Many Thai netizens wrote negative comments about the post, expressing surprise at the minister’s endorsement of North Korea and its envoy.

Some mentioned their astonishment upon learning about the meeting, as they did not see any benefit from engaging with a country that has faced widespread criticism for its human rights record, including political repression, censorship, forced labour camps and a lack of basic freedoms for its citizens.