Trump shifts tack
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