Malaysian Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu (Photo: Malay Mail)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Malaysian Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu on November 20 arrived in Thailand on a two-day visit in an attempt to address crisis in southern Thailand.

The defence minister said the two countries are looking for the best way to settle the conflict in southern Thailand and the issue is among the topics for discussions in the talks with his Thai counterpart, General Prawit Wongsuwon, and the meeting with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

What happens in southern Thailand affects both nations, so the two sides must find the best solution to the issue through negotiations, defence diplomacy and various other means, he said.

Malaysia is the intermediary for the ongoing peace talks between the Thai government and Mara Patani which acts for separatist groups in the South. Residents in southern Thailand have family ties with Malaysians, especially those living in the border states of Perlis, Kedah and Kelantan.

Since 2004, armed conflict in the four provinces in southern Thailand has claimed more than 7,000 lives, according to Deep South Watch (DSW) which monitors it.

In addition to the southern Thai conflict, Sabu and Prawit discussed efforts to further boost the bilateral defence ties.

Earlier, shortly after arriving in Bangkok, Sabu visited the country’s Counter Terrorist Operations Centre (CTOC) belonging to the Royal Thai Army. The Malaysian Armed Forces had close relations with their Thai counterparts as well as the armed forces of ASEAN countries in the effort to counter terrorism and cyber-warfare. –VNA