Admiral Graft Pay, the officer responsible for the purchase, talked to Private Tye. He explained that the submarines needed to be small because the Gulf of Thailand is very shallow and large submarines would be easily detected by an enemy. Also, he added, large submarines might frighten away the tourists that can be found on all the Thai beaches. When asked if the subs could be deployed against China, he answered that of course they could. “We have every intention of helping the Americans to help Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines take control of these island before they disappear under the sea due to global warming. China has no business being in the South China Sea” he stated adamantly.
The real story from Reuters:
Military-ruled Thailand will buy three submarines worth around $1 billion from China, the defense minister said on Friday, a move that signals warming ties with the regional superpower as relations with the United States cool.
Thailand's army seized power in a May 2014 coup following months of street protests, toppling the remnants of the civilian government led by Yingluck Shinawatra. Since then, the military government has sought to improve ties with China which has stepped into the vacuum left by Western governments that have kept the junta at arms length and called for a rapid return to democratic government.
That has come as Beijing and Washington jostle for power and influence in Southeast Asia, where China's disputed maritime claims in the South China Sea have has caused tension in recent years. The purchase of 36 billion baht ($1.03 billion) worth of Chinese-made submarines next year was confirmed on Friday by Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, after the navy put the plan to the cabinet.
Thailand has never had submarines and has tried, since the 1990s, to sign deals with several countries, including South Korea and Germany.
Thailand put the deal with China on hold a year ago to review the cost and capabilities of the vessels. Warming ties with China have seen the two countries work toward a massive rail project and holding joint air force exercises. Thailand's defense spending is set to rise to around 214 billion baht ($6.10 billion) in 2017, up 16.6 percent from 2014.