The opposition Democrat Party yesterday urged the government to clarify reports that Nasa has transported its equipment to U-tapao airport in Chon Buri since May 18.
Democrat spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said the government has not made it clear whether it would approve the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration request to use the airport, but Nasa’s official website indicated that the agency moved its equipment to the airport last month.
He said China had expressed concern over the use of Nasa’s ER2 planes because they look like spy planes used by the US and they can fly higher than 21 kilometres from the ground. Some radar cannot detect these planes.
“I call on the government to clarify about this project and its impact on the country’s sovereignty. The government must also seek Parliament’s opinion according to Article 190,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman also dismissed a claim by Science Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi that the project was initiated during the Democrat-led government.
Deputy Government Spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ardh said Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjaiva could ask any question over the establishment of the HADR – humanitarian assistance/disaster relief – to US ambassador to Thailand Kristie Anne Kenney.
He said Prasong Soonsiri and Kasit Piromya could join the interview or witness the event, if they want. “Will Abhisit accept this proposal? If not he should keep his mouth shut,” Anusorn said.
He said the government is ready to provide television airtime for the interview with Ambassador Kenney, along with representatives from the Bureau of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation to provide information if needed.
Anusorn criticised Abhisit’s comment that the government must reveal complete information about the mission if it wants the project to be approved.
He said the US had approached the issue in a straightforward manner by seeking permission through the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Age.
He said after the agency had approved, the US proceeded with the project with the Science Ministry and the Foreign Ministry respectively.
He said Nasa wanted to know within Tuesday whether the government would give the nod for the project because it has to get its annual budget ready.