Thailand to create humanitarian corridor for displaced Myanmar people

Thailand plans to open a humanitarian corridor at its border with Myanmar to send aid to civilians. The move comes as fighting between the junta and opposition armed forces intensifies.

Thai Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara visited Mae Sot in western Thailand on Thursday to inspect a border checkpoint that will be the hub for the aid mission.

Authorities in Thailand say the first batch of food and medical supplies will be delivered to some 20,000 people in Myanmar through the Red Cross as early as March.

The initiative was endorsed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in January after the Thai government and the Myanmar military agreed on the plan.

The Thai foreign minister stressed that the humanitarian issue is directly related to people's lives.

He said, "It's not a political issue, so every side should agree with the principle that ASEAN has presented and Thailand is pushing forward right now."

The UN estimates 2.6 million Myanmar people have been internally displaced since the military seized power in a coup three years ago. Thousands more have fled to neighboring Thailand.

Establishing the humanitarian corridor is seen as an attempt by the Thai government to stabilize the situation in border areas.