Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand and formerly known as Siam is a country in Southeast Asia. It covers an area of 513,120 square kilometres and is the worlds 50th largest country being slightly larger than Spain. Thailand is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and Myanmar. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest.
Thailand is classified as an emerging economy and a newly industrialized economy; manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism are leading sectors of the economy. Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. However, in recent history, its government has experienced multiple coups and periods of military dictatorships. In 2010, Thailand ranked 124th out of 149 nations in the Global Peace Index. The ranking was due mainly to the political unrest associated with Red Shirt and Yellow Shirt protests and the violence in the Muslim south.
Thailand is a member of many regional and international organisations. It is a major non NATO ally of the United States.
Border facts: Thailand shares boundaries with Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Myanmar. Although neither China nor Vietnam border Thailand, their territories lie within 100 km of Thai territory. Many parts of Thailand’s boundaries follow natural features, such as the Mekong. Most borders were stabilized and demarcated in the late-19th and early-20th centuries in accordance with treaties forced on Thailand and its neighbors by Britain and France. In some areas, however, exact boundaries, especially along Thailand’s eastern borders with Laos and Cambodia, are still disputed.
Thai – Myanmar border is 2,416 kilometres long. Due to the internal disputes within Myanmar over 120000 displaced people are resident in UN camps. Malaria and tuberculosis are particular concerns in the border provinces. The border with Myanmar begins at the famous golden triangle, located at the nation’s northernmost point, and is where Thailand ‘s borders meet those of both Laos and Myanmar ( Burma ) LAMMTH. The border with Myanmar continues to the west and then south as far as the Malay Peninsula, much of which is occupied by Thailand. Geographical features define some sections of the border. For instance, River Moei represents the international border between the two nations and delimits the Province of Tak in Thailand from the State of Kayin in Myanmar.
Sovereignty over three Andaman Sea islands remains disputed. The standing agreement, negotiated in February 1982, left undetermined the status of Ginga Island (Ko Lam), Ko Kham, and Ko Ki Nok at the mouth of the Kraburi River (Pakchan River). Subsequent negotiations in 1985, 1989, and 1990 made no progress. The two parties have designated the islands as “no man’s land”. Ongoing tensions in the area resulted in minor clashes in 1998, 2003, and 2013. There are 4 border crossing between the 2 countries. A famous example is the Myanmar-Thailand Friendship Bridge, a border crossing located on River Moei. Fun Fact: At the border traffic needs to changes sides from the left in Thailand to the right in Myanmar.
Thai – Laos border is about 1755 km long. Demarcation is complete except for certain Mekong islets. The border is marked by the Mekong: at high water during the rainy season, the centre line of the current is the border, while during low water periods, all islands, mudbanks, sandbanks, and rocks that are revealed belong to Laos. There are 8 border crossings between Thailand and Laos. Many of these border crossings are bridges found on the Mekong River which are commonly known as “Friendship Bridges.” The busiest of the border crossings is the Nong Khai-Vientiane border crossing, which was the first Friendship Bridge to be constructed.
Thai – Cambodia border is about 805 km long. The border starts at the KALATH (The Emerald Triangle) tripoint connecting the two nations to Laos and moves south to the Gulf of Thailand. While the two countries agree on the delineation of a large section the border, there is a disagreement on the Preah Vihear Temple in northern Cambodia. The history of the territorial dispute goes back to the early 20th century when the French were delineating the international border in 1907 and culminated in armed conflict that was witnessed between 2008 and 2011. The two countries battled over the temple in a war that resulted in the deaths of an estimated 36 soldiers from both sides as well as at least five civilians. The dispute was resolved in November 11th, 2013 by the International Court of Justice which granted the sovereignty of the disputed area to Cambodia.
Thai -Malaysia border is 505 km long, the shortest of Thailand’s borders. The border starts at the Strait of Malacca, from where it extends east. The Golok River forms the easternmost 95 km stretch of the land border. The two countries also share a maritime border on the east and west of the Malay peninsula in the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca. The maritime border was established in the early 20th century in line with the provisions of the 1909 Anglo-Siamese treaty, but the two countries formally agreed on the delineation of the border after signing an agreement in October 1979. There are many border crossings both road and rail. Some of the border is marked by security barriers to tackle smuggling. There are border disputes relating to the continental shelf and mineral exploitation in the gulf of Thailand which have been partially resolved by several treaties. The second border dispute relates to a 8.5 km stretch of land (42 hectares) at Jeli Hill found close to the Golok River. Negotiations are ongoing.
|1||KHLATH||Cambodia – Laos – Thailand||14°20’33″N |
|2||LAMMTH||Laos – Myanmar – Thailand||20°21′N 100°5′E||Wet||Palmberg (1995)|
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