Thailand

 

A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. In alliance with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US ally following the conflict. Thailand is currently facing separatist violence in its southern ethnic Malay-Muslim provinces.

 

Geography:
Location: South-eastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma
Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 100 00 E
People:
Population: 67,091,089 (July 2012 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

Age structure: 0-14 years: 19.9% (male 6,779,723/female 6,466,625)

15-64 years: 70.9% (male 23,410,091/female 23,913,499)

65 years and over: 9.2% (male 2,778,012/female 3,372,203) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Kingdom of Thailand

conventional short form: Thailand

local long form: Ratcha Anachak Thai

local short form: Prathet Thai

former: Siam

Government type: constitutional monarchy
Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 7.009 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 69.683 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 103 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 63

over 3,047 m: 8

2,438 to 3,047 m: 12

1,524 to 2,437 m: 23

914 to 1,523 m: 15

under 914 m: 5 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Royal Thai Army (RTA), Royal Thai Navy (RTN, includes Royal Thai Marine Corps), Royal Thai Air Force (Knogtap Agard Thai, RTAF) (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 21 years of age for compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; males register at 18 years of age; 2-year conscript service obligation (2009)

Economy:

With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, and generally pro-investment policies, Thailand appears to have fully recovered from the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis. The country was one of East Asia’s best performers from 2002-04. Boosted by strong export growth, the Thai economy grew 4.5% in 2007. Bangkok has pursued preferential trade agreements with a variety of partners in an effort to boost exports and to maintain high growth. By 2007, the tourism sector had largely recovered from the major 2004 tsunami. Following the military coup in September 2006, investment and consumer confidence stagnated due to the uncertain political climate that lasted through the December 2007 elections.

Transnational Issues:

Separatist violence in Thailand’s predominantly Muslim southern provinces prompt border closures and controls with Malaysia to stem terrorist activities; Southeast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; talks continue on completion of demarcation with Laos but disputes remain over several islands in the Mekong River; despite continuing border committee talks, Thailand must deal with Karen and other ethnic rebels, refugees, and illegal cross-border activities, and as of 2006, over 116,000 Karen, Hmong, and other refugees and asylum seekers from Burma; Cambodia and Thailand dispute sections of historic boundary with missing boundary markers; Cambodia claims Thai encroachments into Cambodian territory and obstructing access to Preah Vihear temple ruins awarded to Cambodia by ICJ decision in 1962; Thailand is studying the feasibility of jointly constructing the Hatgyi Dam on the Salween river near the border with Burma; in 2004, international environmentalist pressure prompted China to halt construction of 13 dams on the Salween River that flows through China, Burma, and Thailand.