Thai­land courts US, China with arms sales

Southeast Asia Globe - - Panorama -

Thai­land is cosy­ing up to its long­time ally the United States through arms pur­chases, even as it con­tin­ues to buy mil­i­tary equip­ment from China, re­ports the Straits Times. Af­ter a visit by Thai De­fence Min­is­ter Prawit Wong­suwan to the Pen­tagon in April, the US pledged co­op­er­a­tion with Thai­land in fight­ing crimes re­lated to hu­man traf­fick­ing, in­ter­net se­cu­rity and ter­ror­ism. With this pledge came an agree­ment from Thai­land to buy mil­i­tary in­ven­tory that in­cludes four Black Hawk he­li­copters. Crit­ics ques­tion Thai­land’s con­tin­ued pur­chas­ing of Chi­nese weaponry as well, and suggest the arms sales are more a global po­lit­i­cal balanc­ing act than a se­cu­rity ini­tia­tive. “Thai­land’s govern­ment is... pro-Beijing,” Bangkok-based au­thor Ben­jamin Zawacki told the Asia Times. “And un­til Trump came to power, it was anti-Washington as well.”

Sol­diers take part in the 2018 Co­bra Gold mil­i­tary ex­er­cises

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