Thailand got a new foreign minister yesterday, just in time for crucial border talks with Cambodia tomorrow.
The appointment of Tej Bunnag, the former ambassador to the United States, received royal endorsement yesterday. He is scheduled to have an audience with His Majesty the King at 5pm today.
Tej's first mission will be to lead the delegation in talks with Cambodia in Siem Reap over the border dispute stemming from the listing of Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site.
PM Samak Sundaravej will accompany Tej to the audience with the King.
Former PM Anand Panyara-chun yesterday said he believed Tej would help improve the government's image, in addition to contributing his expertise to international relations.
Tej, 64, replaces Noppadon Pattama, who resigned early this month amidst mounting political pressure following his support for Cambodia's bid to list the temple ruins.
Tej, a career diplomat, has been adviser to the Office of His Majesty's Private Secretary since 2004.
He is also chairman of the Thai-Cambodian Cultural Society.
A PhD from Oxford University, he joined the Foreign Ministry in 1969. Tej was head of the missions to China, France and the US. He became ministry permanent secretary in 2001.