Plane Skids off Runway in Bangkok, 14 Injured

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Plane Skids off Runway in Bangkok, 14 Injured

Also: U.S. military presence increases in the Philippines, while Japan drops travel visa for Malaysian tourists.

Fourteen passengers were injured after a plane arriving from Guangzhou China skidded off of a runway at the Thai capital’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. The Thai Airways’ Airbus A330-300 experienced a landing gear failure that caused it to slide across the tarmac.

“The nose gear failed as the plane touched the runway, causing the plane to skid,” said a spokesperson from Thai Airways in an interview with BBC. “Sparks were noticed from the vicinity of the right landing gear near the engine – the matter is under investigation.”

In other travel-related news, Malaysian tourists are flocking to Japan after a new ruling that has dropped the requirement for a travel visa.

“Malaysian nationals who hold ordinary biometric passports with an embedded microchip will no longer need to obtain a visa for a short-term stay in Japan,” reported The Star. “Japan [has] become a top destination for Malaysian travelers especially during the autumn period, which starts in September and ends in November.”

A Japan Travel Bureau employee said that concerns over the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have not had a negative impact on Malaysian travelers.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, a provisional agreement has been made that will see an increase in U.S. military presence there. The agreement comes as tensions over territorial claims with China and its neighbors in the South China Sea continue to flare.

“The proposed agreement provides a framework for the semi-permanent ‘rotational’ stationing of American troops and military hardware in the Philippines and once implemented will provide new strategic ballast to the U.S.'s efforts to counterbalance China's influence in the region,” says Asia Times. “[The agreement] will likely send an even stronger message to China about the U.S. commitment to maintaining stability in the maritime area.”

Manila and Washington have been engaged in negotiations since July. Another round of talks in scheduled for mid-September. U.S. bases in the Philippines closed in 1992. The two countries currently adhere to the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement which limits American military presence to rotational forces only.