Monday, July 02, 2007

Apathy has overtaken Kiasu as a Singaporean Characteristics

Singaporeans are a tolerant lot. They have taken a lot of punishment without complaint. This year alone, Lee Kuan Yew, the dictator of Singapore, announced that he is not satisfied that he is already paid 3 times what the President of United States gets. No matter what the people say, he must have more. This time he has decided to increase his salary to US$3 million dollars a year. As you know, this is about 3 or 4 times the salary of the United States President and more than the combined salaries of the UK, French and German heads of state! Not to forget his Ministers, they too will take US$2 million a year from now on. He says that he is not bothered about what the people think of this, unashamed theft of his people's money. He is, he says, the boss. He will do what he wants and take what he wants. End of chapter.

All Lee's laws are oppressive. The law of Singapore, as ordered by Lee Kuan Yew, states that an gathering of more than 5 people in public requires a permit. Otherwise they are illegal and shall face prosecution and jail. But the problem is that even if you did apply for a permit, say to protest this thieving by Lee Kuan Yew and his friends of the millions of dollars of people's money, you will not get one. So in the end, the people are left with no means to question the government.

The people are prevented from publicly complaining about the injustices they suffer. The government insists that to make a speech in public, one needs a permit. But the Catch 22 appears again, that is, if you applied for a permit to publicly criticize the government, it will be denied. And if you did speak anyway, you face prosecution and imprisonment.

Letters of protest and criticism by the people to the press is routinely ignored because the press in Singapore are completely state owned and controlled. Lee and his government are not interested in the people's views and opinions. As far as Lee and his government are concerned, the Singapore population is nothing more than a nuisance, to be just ignored.

The young in Singapore almost entirely hate the government. They detest having to do national service for a country for which they have no loyalty. They want to emigrate overseas. But if they did, their parents face arrest and prosecution for their sons failure to do national service. Their parents too detest the government. But there is nothing they can do. There is no means for them to legitimately compel the government to listen to them. If they write letters to the government or the press, they are merely ignored. Lee Kuan Yew does whatever he wants. Life is becoming intolerable for the people under this dictatorship.

About 30 years ago, when the government introduced the Central Provident Fund savings system, the government promised the people that they could withdraw their savings at the age of 55 for their retirement. Over the years, the government has raised the retirement age and today it stands at 62. The workers under the new system are only given a small sum each month instead of their being able to withdraw the whole amount. In the case of workers who do not have much in the CPF account, the money that the government pays them in instalments is insufficient to survive on. They have to either continue working at their advanced age or they have to live in poverty. The government does not care about them at all.

The government restricts the information that people can receive. The Singapore newspaper, the Straits Times is state controlled. So are all the other newspapers and other news media. All state controlled. People are forced to read and listen to propaganda. Foreign newspapers which truly report the news such as the Far Easter Economic Review are banned.

The government does whatever they want with public funds. These funds belong to the people as they comprise tax funds and workers CPF retirement savings. With no consultation with the people whatsoever and not even disclosing their actions, the government does whatever they want with the funds. Moreover Lee Kuan Yew and his Ministers steal this money by paying themselves millions of dollars, in what they call salary, but which the people call theft. The people are left with no means of protesting thisinjustice. If they did publicly protest without a government permit, which they cannot obtain, they will be arrested and imprisoned.

If the people had complaints, they cannot seek help through their elected representatives. The 2 opposition elected representatives have become totally ineffective through fear. Fear that if they really took measures to air their people's grievances, they themselves might be arrested and imprisoned. Therefore, the 2 elected opposition Members of Parliament merely make speeches, which the government in turn ignores. The Non Constituency MP makes speeches in Parliament and occasionally goes around the island giving lectures on the Penal Code. She is a Law Professor. And Lee Kuan Yew and his bullies just ignores all that the opposition does in Parliamentary speeches and law lectures. At the end of the day, the people's lives have not changed one bit. They have no choice but to continue to bear the hard life that Lee
demands of them.

In every aspect of life, Singaporeans are being treated no better than "digits" as Lee Kuan Yew once called Singaporeans, to be pushed around any which way he wants. The question is, how much more will Singaporeans have to bear before they realize that they must protest, regardless of the consequences.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

CSI for Chemists


Friday, May 04, 2007

An Overview of Carbon Capture

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has been receiving an unprecedented amount of media and scientific attention since the publication of The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change in 2006. The global energy supply is characterised today by structural weakness and geopolitical, social and environmental shortcomings, particularly as regards security of supply and climate change. Energy is the major determinant of economic growth and deficiencies in the energy supply can have a direct impact on growth, stability and the well-being of every citizen. With that in mind, it is imperative that fossil fuel will continue to be used for the foreseeable future. Power plants have to be equipped with CCS facilities in order to mitigate climate change while providing energy to power the economy.

Figure 1: Industrial Carbon Capture Strategies

Carbon in CCS refers to Carbon Dioxide. Industrial Carbon Capture Strategies are divided into 4 categories: Industrial Separation, Post-Combustion, Pre-Combustion and Oxyfuel Combustion. These strategies assume zero sulphur content as desulphurisation is employed in processing coal, gas and biomass prior to utilising them as fuel. It is crucial that the captured carbon dioxide is free of moisture and oxides of sulphur and nitrogen. This is to minimise corrosion of the pipelines that will transport the carbon dioxide to geological storage.

Carbon Dioxide has been captured in industrial processes for many years. Most of the Carbon Dioxide captured, however, is vented to the atmosphere because there is no incentive or requirement to store it. Current examples of Carbon Dioxide Capture in industrial processes include sweetening of natural gas and the production of synthesis gas for the manufacture of ammonia, alcohol and synthetic liquid fuels. Chemisorption of Carbon Dioxide via a base (e.g Monoethanolamine) is usually employed.

Carbon Capture from flue gases produced by combustion of fossil fuels and biomass in air is referred as post-combustion capture. Instead of being discharged directly into the atmosphere, the flue gas is passed into a chemical separation system in which most of the carbon dioxide is captured. The remainder flue gas is then discharged to the environment.

Pre-combustion capture of Carbon Dioxide involves gasification, in which the fossil fuel reacts with air and steam to produce Synthesis Gas (a mixture of Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen Gas). The carbon monoxide in Synthesis Gas then reacts with steam in a Shift Converter to produce Carbon Dioxide and Hydrogen. Pre-combustion systems produce a hydrogen-rich fuel is then used to generate electricity via combustion or fuel cell. An example of pre-combustion Carbon-Capture Energy Generation System would be the ZECA Process.

Oxyfuel Combustion employs using near pure oxygen to burn fossil fuels or biomass instead of air. This results in a very hot flue gas rich in carbon dioxide and water. To moderate temperature, some of the flue gas is recycled into the reactor. Oxygen is usually produced by low temperature (cryogenic) air separation and novel techniques to supply oxygen to the fuel, such as membranes and chemical looping cycles are being developed.


A recommended methodology employed in selecting what carbon capture technology to use would be the Environmental Assessment and Appraisal of Best Available Technology (BAT), stipulated in the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive of the European Commission. On top of assessing the environmental impacts of the different technologies, key criteria such as the concentration of Carbon Dioxide, the pressure of the gas stream and type of fuel used have to be taken in account too.

Figure 2: (a) CO2 post-combustion capture at a plant in Malaysia. This plant employs a chemical absorption process to separate 0.2 MtCO2 per year from the flue gas stream of a gas-fired power plant for urea production (Courtesy of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries). (b) CO2 pre- combustion capture at a coal gasification plant in North Dakota, USA. This plant employs a physical solvent process to separate 3.3 MtCO2 per year from a gas stream to produce synthetic natural gas. Part of the captured CO2 is used for an Enhanced Oil Recovery project in Canada.

Carbon Capture Systems consumes energy. This means power plants with CCS have to produce additional energy for capturing Carbon Dioxide, as a result the cost of electricity generated for sale increases. The increment in cost of electricity is tabulated in Figure 3. It is clear that the cost of electricity increases by approximately 33% due to CCS. Therefore, it is essential that CCS systems should energy efficient and not energy intensive in order to reduce the cost of electricity and to alleviate fuel poverty. Although no carbon capture system is required for oxyfuel combustion, obtaining near pure oxygen for fuel combustion is energy intensive. Currently, cryogenic separation of air is used to obtain oxygen for oxyfuel combustion. The flue gas from oxyfuel combustion is rich in Carbon Dioxide and moisture. Moisture has to be removed from the flue gas before transporting.

Figure 3: Comparing Cost of Electricity ($/kWh)

The most common form of carbon capture technology is the sorbent/solvent system. Carbon capture is achieved by contacting the flue gas with a liquid absorbent or solid sorbent that is capable of capturing carbon dioxide. Monoethanolamine is commonly employed as the liquid absorbent. Lime (CaO) is a substance that can potentially act as a solid sorbent. In the general scheme, the sorbent loaded with the carbon dioxide is transported to another vessel whereby the Carbon Dioxide is released (either via heating or pressure changes). In this way, the sorbent is regenerated and can be transported back where it is contacted with the incoming flue gas to absorb Carbon Dioxide. This approached is adopted in industrial processes, post-combustion capture.

Figure 4: Carbon Capture via Chemisorption of CO2 using Monoethanolamine (MEA). CO2 is released by heating rich MEA, thus regenerating the lean MEA solution. HX refers to heat exchanger, which transfers heat from the lean MEA solution leaving the stripper to the rich MEA solution leaving the Absorber.

The challenge with this technology is ensuring high carbon capture rate and reducing energy intensity. In Figure 4, heating the rich MEA solution in the Stripper regenerates lean MEA. This is energy intensive, given the volume of MEA in the system. The MEA solution must be sufficiently lean to maximise Carbon Capture. Moreover, the carbon capture rate can be maximised by maximising the contact area between the sorbent and the flue gas in the Absorber or increasing the residence time of MEA in the Absorber. An approach in maximising the contact area is to use Bubble Pack Column instead of a traditional stage column. Heat integration is key in reducing the overall energy intensity of this Carbon Capture technology.

Membranes are specially manufactured materials that allow selective permeation of a gas through them. The selectivity of the membrane to different gases is intimately related to the nature of the material, but the flow of the gas is usually driven by the pressure difference across the membrane. High pressure streams are usually preferred for membrane application. There are many types of membrane materials, such as polymers, metals and ceramics. Although membrane separations finds many current commercial applications in industry, such as the sweetening of natural gas, they have not yet been applied for large scale and demanding conditions in terms of reliability and low cost required for Carbon Capture. However, membrane separation is the preferential process for extracting hydrogen from a fuel gas stream. Membranes have been used in isotope separation, with specific application in uranium enrichment. It is only in recent years that membranes have found use outside the nuclear industry.

Figure 5: Membrane Separation Schematics

Pre-combustion capture of Carbon Dioxide is a relatively new concept. It is based on the steam reforming of light hydrocarbons, otherwise known as Gasification. Gasification is the conversion of a carbon-containing solid or liquid substance into a gas in which the major components are Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen. This gas is known as Synthesis Gas. Synthesis Gas can either be used as a fuel or a chemical feedstock which products such as Ammonia and Methanol are made from. The defining chemical characteristic of gasification is that it entails the partial oxidation of the feed material. In combustion, the feed is fully oxidised, whereas in pyrolysis, the feed undergoes degradation in the absence of oxygen.

Figure 6: IGCC Power Plant

The oxidants for gasification are oxygen, air and steam. Steam also acts as a temperature moderator as the reaction of steam with carbon is endothermic. The choice of air or pure oxygen depends on a number of factors, such as the reactivity of the feed material, the purpose for which the gas is used and the type of gasifier. For example, the Shell Middle Distillate Synthesis uses air to partially oxidise Natural Gas to produce Synthesis Gas for the manufacture of Synthetic Diesel. In the ZECA Process, steam and hydrogen are used to gasify coal to create more hydrogen gas for power generation in a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cell. Currently, IGCC power plants uses Gasification to generate power from coal, heavy oil residue and waste wood.

The ZECA Process is one of the upcoming power generation technologies of the future. Its baseline efficiency is 68.9%. For a 600MW plant, the total plant cost is $1518/kW. 4090 tons of Carbon Dioxide would be sequestrated per year pear MW. The cost of electricity is $0.0432/kWh without Carbon Sequestration and $0.054/kWh with Carbon Sequestration. The ZECA Process is characterised by the following chemical equations:
  1. C (s) + 2H2 (g) -> CH4 (g) + Heat
  2. CH4 (g) + 2H2O (g) + CaO (s) -> CaCO3 (s) + 4H2 (g)
  3. 2H2 (g) + O2 (g) -> 2H2O (g) + heat + electricity
  4. CaCO3 (s) + Heat -> CaO (s) + CO2 (g)

Figure 7: ZECA Process

Coal is first gasified in the Gasification Reactor using Hydrogen Gas. Light hydrocarbons in the matrix of coal is also released in the Gasification Reactor. The light hydrocarbon and the synthetic methane is then passed into the Carbonation Reactor. They react with steam in to produce Carbon Dioxide which is absorbed by Calcium Oxide (Lime). Calcium oxide is converted to Calcium Carbonate. Calcium Oxide is regenerated using the waste heat from the fuel cell. Hydrogen gas is generated in the Carbonation Reactor. For every mole of Carbon gasified, 2 moles of hydrogen gas are consumed and 4 moles of hydrogen gas are generated is the Carbonation Reactor. There is a net gain of 2 moles of hydrogen gas per mole of Carbon consumed. Carbon Dioxide is captured before the oxidation (or “combustion”) process.


  1. IPCC Special Report on Carbon Capture and Storage 2005
  2. Parametric Studies of Carbon Dioxide Absorption into Highly Concentrated Monoethanolamine Solutions, deMontigny, D., Tontiwachwuthikul P. and Chakma, A., Can. J. Chem. Eng 79, 137 – 142, 2001
  3. Absorption of Carbon Dioxide at High Partial Pressures in 1-Amino-2-propanol Aqueous Solution. Considerations of Thermal Effects, Fernando Camacho, Sebastian Sanchez, and Rafael Pacheco, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 1997, 36, 4358-4364
  4. Compact Low Energy Carbon Dioxide Management Using Amine Solution in a Packed Bubble Column, Susan Krumdiecka, Jamie Wallace, Owen Curnow, Chemical Engineering Journal 2007
  5. Hydrogen and Carbon Dioxide Production Concepts, APR 2004, ZECA Corporation / Nexant Inc
  6. Technology Status Report: Gasification of Solid and Liquid Fuels for Power Generation, DEC 1998, Department of Trade and Industry, Her Majesty’s Government (UK)
  7. Gas To Liquid: Shell Middle Distillate Synthesis, Shell Global Solutions

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Importance of Being Elite


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

RWE N Power Energy Challenge

It was the RWE N Power Energy Challenge Regional Heats yesterday. There were 8 teams in total, in which 3 came from Imperial College. We all had very different ideas on how to tackle the UK Energy Challenge. As chemical engineers, our perspective was on how to reduce the cost of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) because CCS is not only mandatory for new coal and gas power stations, but also it increases the cost of electricity production by a third.

It is clear the UK will have to plug its impending energy gap with new coal and gas power stations but how would power stations pay for the increased cost of electricity production? It was the intention of my group to present a solution that can solve this dilemma. We first define the UK Energy Challenge according to the DTI Energy White Paper 2003 "Our Energy Future - Creating a Low Carbon Economy".

Next, we highlight that CCS is a mandatory component of all coal and gas power stations in the future. Using a 1200MW Coal Power Station as a basis, we estimated that the cost would be $3.9B using values from the IPCC Special Report on Carbon Capture and Storage 2005. The rationale for including CCS is to extend the life of the oil fields on the UK Continental Shelf in the North Sea. Injecting Carbon Dioxide has been proven to increase the recoverable reserves from 40% to 45%, which is equivalent to $60B annually. This is known as Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).

The aim of showing the historical prices of carbon dioxide emission credits is to emphasise that carbon trading alone is not sufficient to offset the cost associated with CCS. In fact, carbon trading is only sufficient to offset 15.7% of the total CCS cost.

In fact, it is the perspective of my group that CCS itself is the barrier to plug the UK impending energy gap and we aim to overcome CCS. In this way, we not only can combat climate change, but also ensure the energy security of the UK.

This is our simple solution. However, designing the plant is not a simple task.

This is a pictorial representation of our solution to overcome the CCS barrier. We intend to offset the cost associated with CCS by 2 mechanisms - the sale of synthetic crude and savings generation due to the fact that less carbon dioxide is needed for cleaning before transporting it to the North Sea for EOR. A 1200MW Coal Power Station generates 4.9M ton of Carbon Dioxide annually. My proposed plant will consume 2.8M tons of carbon dioxide annually, so the coal power station only needs to rid sulphur and nitrogen in the remainder 2.1M ton of carbon dioxide before transporting it to the North Sea.

Here is a description of our Synthetic Fuel Plant. All heating power and electricity is derived from the 420MW (Nuclear) Advanced Gas Reactor.

Although the production of synthetic crude is small, it is able to offset the CCS cost by 92.2%. I must emphasise that the strategic aim of manufacturing synthetic crude from carbon dioxide is to make CCS more affordable. Moreover, the fact that this plant processes 2.8M ton of carbon dioxide annually means it effectively reduces the carbon dioxide emission in the transport sector by 2.8M tons - 70% of the 2020 Reduction Target set for Transport by the UK Government.

This is a substantial improvement from 15.7% Offset (using Carbon Dioxide Emission Credits Alone) to 92.2% (using our approach of combining carbon dioxide recycling with Emission Trading).

I must admit the cost of synthetic crude production is high. It cost about $7-10/bbl for a rich oil field, and $12-16/bbl for a depleting oil field.

Our solution to overcoming the cost of CCS does have elements of technical innovation. AGR is 41% thermal efficient for electricity generation. The remainder energy is dissipated as waste heat. However, if we use the AGR as a source of heat to drive chemical reactions, then the thermal efficiency of the AGR would improve to 60-75% efficiency - typical efficiencies of an industrial heat exchanger. This is the key in increasing economic viability of nuclear technology today. If the UK public continue to persist in their anti-nuclear antics, the UK faces a potential strategic loss - the continued decommsion of nuclear power plants without construction of new nuclear power plants would mean the UK would loose an emminent skill base for nuclear technology in the future.

The Chemical Reduction of Carbon Dioxide to Carbon Monoxide can be carried out with Cu catalyst supported by Alumium(III) Oxide. This reaction employs hydrogen as the reducing agent. It is carried out at 600 degree celcius, 50 bars. At this condition, an overall 70% conversion can be achieved with recycle. Without catalyst, this reaction can be carried out at temperature at 1000 degree celcius, 1.013 bar. However, the conversion would be very small.

Both Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis and Direct Methanol Synthesis are well-established technologies today. The Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis is the backbone of many Gas-To-Liquid (GTL) and Coal-To-Liquid (CTL) technologies today. GTL and CTL processes are employed by major oil companies such as Shell, BP, Conocophillips to convert Natural Gas and Coal into gasoline and diesel. Direct Methanol Synthesis is the backbone of the Methanol Industry. The feedstock of Direct Methanol Synthesis is Syngas, which is principally manufactured through steam reforming of Natural Gas.

The flowsheet above demonstrates how synthetic crude is manufactured. Our plant is capable of producing methanol as well. This is to highlight the process flexibility of our plant, given that Syngas (a mixture of Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen) can be manufactured into any hydrocarbons. In case that crude becomes obselette in the future, our process is capable of producing alternative valuable products which can aid in offsetting the cost of CCS. In fact, there is ongoing academic research for direct synthesis of gasoline from syngas. I must also stress that hydrogen is manufactured on-site from water.

We believe methanol would be the transport fuel of the future. Why put our faith in methanol? We believe Methanol would be the liquid fuel of the future, replacing Gasoline in time to come. Methanol is a liquid fuel, unlike hydrogen, so there would be ease of transport and storage. In terms of energy density, methanol is 4.6kWh/L unlike hydrogen at 0.405kWh/L. Although the energy density of gasoline (9.7kWh/L) is twice of that of methanol. methanol can be manufactured from a variety of sources with relative ease, unlike gasoline. Moreover, methanol has a higher octane rating (105) than Gasoline. This means improved performance in a methanol-fueld Internal Combustion Engine. Moreover, methanol fuel cells in existence today are at least 60% efficient, running at near ambient temperature (60 degree celcius). Moreover, there is good carbon atom Economy for Methanol Synthesis and less energy intensive than the Direct Synthesis of Ethanol. Methanol can also be dehydrated to Dimethyl Ether which can run in Compression Ignition Engines.

Of course, there would always be limitations with technology. I cannot deny that high crude prices make our process economically viable. As in any fuel manufacture process, it is always energy intensive. The amount of fuel produced is always limited by the capacity of the energy source available.

What do you think of my presentation? Essentially, this is the long-term solution in making CCS a commercial reality without transferring the increment in cost of electricity production to the consumers.


Friday, March 09, 2007

A Day at the Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London

Imperial College is among the top 10 universities in the world.

Does that mean life at the Department of Chemical Engineering is just all work and no play?

Meet the academic staff of the Department of Chemical Engineering:
Professor Paul Luckham and Dr Frantisek Stepanek putting up a tough fight - sumo wrestling!

The popular champion: Dr Omar K. Mater

Some Chemical Engineers are babes too

Not forgetting the uniquely Imperial-flavoured Miss(s) Centrefold

Aren't all of them lovely?

Meet the Pilot Plant Boys - Our Own Boy Band!

Of Course I am there as well.. LOL..

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Sweet Turn of Event for Temesak Holdings

Thai sale of mobile firm to Singapore 'a mistake'
- Jim Pollard, Bangkok
- January 24, 2007

THE sale of Thailand's national satellite and mobile phone company to Singapore was a tragic mistake that had compromised the Thai military because Singapore would abuse their access to the communications infrastructure, a top Australian defence analyst said yesterday. Des Ball, from the Australian National University, said Thailand's new Military Government should shoot down the sale of the national satellite to Singapore and not trust the city-state when it comes to defence communications.

Professor Ball said the sale of the ShinSat satellite to Singaporean state investment firm Temasek Holdings - part of a highly controversial deal negotiated last year by deposed Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra - was a tragedy for the Thai military that could cost them hundreds of millions of dollars.

Professor Ball said Bangkok should launch a new satellite to ensure the Thai military's signals could not be intercepted.

"It's not in Thailand's interests to allow Singapore control of such a critically important communications system, through the satellite and mobile phone company," he said.

The sale had "given Singapore direct access to the Royal Thai Army's satellite communications". He added: "They are going to have to have their own independent system, otherwise they hand their military and very sensitive (data) traffic to Singapore on a plate.

Figure1: Thai Dictator Club Ousting Ex-PM Thaksin

"It's a tragedy they've handed that away with the Shin deal and will now have to redesign their own system. If they could get out of this, there are national security reasons why they should ... Launching a new satellite could cost $US250 million ($316million)."

Professor Ball said Australia went through a similar debate five years ago when Singtel purchased the Optus mobile phone company. He was one of a series of analysts who publicly opposed the takeover.

The federal Government eventually allowed the sale to go through, partly to ensure continued close co-operation with the island state, but Australia had to spend a huge sum on fibre-optic cables between its defence bases to ensure its military communications were secure.

Part of the problem, Professor Ball said, was "Singapore has a track record of taking advantage of information for commercial and political purposes".

Singapore had "listened to and photographed Australian military facilities", which had created diplomatic rifts with Canberra, he said.

"They have a history of abusing their access to training in other facilities abroad. That is not what friends are supposed to do - they abused their friendship," Professor Ball said.

Donald's Opinion

Temesak, as usual, reflected its ingenuiety in this case. Previously, the illegal Thai military government opposed the sale of Shin Corp to Temesak Holdings by claiming that the sale has contradicted protectionist policy and laws and therefore illegal. However, on what grounds do the current Thai military government claim its legitimacy to rule or even recognise it as a government of soverign state, thus it should have the right to impose a rule of law? It was after all set up by a military coup.

The fact that it is now public knowledge the Government of Singapore, through Temesak Holdings, owns the Thai Military Satellite only shows the lack of foresight among key members in the current Thai Military Government. Moreover, this sale was not illegal, which is demonstrated by the willingness of the Thai's court to let it proceed. It is obviously that now Temesak Holdings has gained an upperhand advantage in negotiating with the illegal Thai government.

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