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International relations

Thailand angers Malaysia in push for peace in troubled South

Sources say Bangkok marginalized Kuala Lumpur in back-channel talks with rebels

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, left, flagged his interest in Thailand's ethnic conflict soon after returning to office in 2018. (Nikkei Montage/ Reuters) 

BANGKOK -- Thailand's peace offensive to end a 16-year ethnic conflict in three southern provinces has soured diplomatic ties with Malaysia, which borders the area.

Sources told the Nikkei Asian Review that Bangkok's security establishment has been scrambling to contain further diplomatic fallout before the next round of negotiations in Kuala Lumpur in early March. "The Thais are trying to pacify the Malaysians by offering to share some credit for the recent breakthrough in the peace process," said a Bangkok insider with intimate knowledge of the talks.

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