BANGKOK, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung on Tuesday left for Kuala Lumpur for talks with high- level Malaysian officials on cooperation to maintain peace in Thailand's restive South, Thai News Agency reported.
Chalerm said before leaving that he is scheduled to meet with the Malaysian interior minister and security officials to discuss peace-keeping measures for southern Thailand.
Chalerm is also scheduled to meet Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Thursday.
The deputy prime minister is accompanied by senior Thai officials including Thai Army Chief-of-Staff Gen Udomdej Sitabutr, Fourth Army Region commander, the national police chief, the secretary general of the National Security Council, the secretary general of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre and officials responsible for dealing with the southern problem.
He said the details of the planned meeting would not be disclosed, but gave assurances that the southern situation will improve.
The deputy premier said he will later visit the South in the middle of this month.
More than 5,000 people have been killed and more than 9,000 hurt in over 11,000 incidents, about 3.5 incidents a day, in Thailand's three southern border provinces with Malaysia -- Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat -- and four districts of Songkhla since violence erupted in January 2004, according to Deep South Watch, which monitors the regional violence.