International media report death of statesman Prem Tinsulanonda
Recognized as one of Thailand’s most influential political figures, Gen Prem Tinsulanonda’s death was reported worldwide.
Singapore’s Straits Times said, “Born in the southern Songkhla province in 1920, 12 years before Thailand’s absolute monarchy was abolished, Prem experienced most of modern Thai history. He graduated from the country’s top military academy in 1941, showcasing his talent on the frontline by fighting the French in Cambodia and later the British in Burma.”
“He will be remembered as an ardent royalist who helped to cement the monarchy’s place at the very top of modern Thailand’s power structure,” said the BBC’s South-East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head.
The wire service AFP reported, “His 1980-1988 rule as premier brought a rare period of political and economic stability to Thailand thanks to his patronage of military officers, but most importantly through the trust he forged with Bhumibol.”
Washington Post pointed out his devotion to the Thai monarchy, reporting “Mr. Prem was best known for his long-standing devotion to the monarchy, especially the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who appointed him to his Privy Council immediately after Mr. Prem’s eight years as prime minister, and named him head of that powerful advisory body in 1998, a position he held until his death.”
The Japan Times referred to him as “one of Thailand’s most influential political figures over four decades who served as army commander, prime minister and adviser to the royal palace.”
Reuters reported that Prem’s career spanned decades. Most recently he played a role in organizing this month’s ornate coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn. He served briefly as the country’s regent shortly after King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the current monarch’s father, died in 2016 after a 70-year reign.”