Yingluck backs out of SEA Games opening ceremony

Yingluck backs out of SEA Games opening ceremony

Thailand’s prime minister and Singapore’s deputy prime minister planned to attend the opening ceremony of the 27th SEA Games in Burma on Wednesday, but cancelled their visits due to political unrest in their respective countries, according to an official at Burma’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

Burma sent invitations to the opening ceremony of the SEA Games to heads of states and foreign ministers from all ASEAN member states. Sein Oo, deputy director-general of the MoFA’s Consular and Legal Affairs Department, said Thai premier Yingluck Shinawatra and Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean have responded that they will not arrive as scheduled.

“We have been informed by Thailand that Prime Minister [Yingluck] won’t be able to attend the ceremony and the deputy prime minister will be making an appearance in her stead. As for Singapore, they have informed us that their deputy prime minister won’t be arriving here on 9 December as previously planned, due to the political situation in the country. Though they didn’t specify whether he will be able to attend the ceremony [on 11 December],” said the official.

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Thailand’s capital city Bangkok has been rocked by weeks of anti-government protests that have left four people dead and culminated in the dissolution of parliament on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an anomalous rash of riots erupted near Singapore’s Little India on Sunday night after a bus hit and killed a foreign labourer.

As of now, the Lao president, China’s deputy prime minister, the sports ministers from Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, and National Olympic Committee chairpersons from the Philippines, Cambodia and Brunei have confirmed that they will attend the ceremony. Timor Leste will not be sending a delegate to the event.

Tens of thousands of athletes from 11 ASEAN member states are in Burma for the 27th SEA Games, hosted in the country for the first time in over 40 years. The opening ceremony of the games will be held at the Wunna Thedi Stadium in Naypyidaw on 11 December.

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