Trump shifts tack

Southeast Asia Globe - - Panorama / On Our Minds This Month -

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­ci­sion to host Thai premier Prayuth Chan-ocha in Oc­to­ber is the clear­est sign to date of the su­per­power’s new­found will­ing­ness to re­con­nect with the King­dom since the 2014 coup – a cool­ing of re­la­tions that has seen Thailand draw ever closer to China. “I think the US has re­alised that they prob­a­bly haven’t played this par­tic­u­larly well,” Aus­tralian Na­tional Univer­sity re­search fel­low Greg Ray­mond said.

“They haven’t un­der­stood the way that a lot of the Thai elite per­ceive the [US] – as an in­ter­fer­ing power that’s quite threat­en­ing. I think they’re re­ally try­ing to re­coup some ground. The State De­part­ment re­alises that tak­ing this very high morally su­pe­rior stand isn’t nec­es­sar­ily in the US’ in­ter­ests.”

Trump lis­tens dur­ing the first pres­i­den­tial de­bate in Septem­ber 2016

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