Tiller­son vis­its Thailand to firm up bi­lat­eral re­la­tions

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son met Thailand’s lead­ers dur­ing an of­fi­cial visit yes­ter­day, seek­ing to sta­bi­lize re­la­tions that soured af­ter the South­east Asian na­tion’s military seized power from an elected civil­ian gov­ern­ment three years ago. Tiller­son flew in from the Philip­pines, where he met with his coun­ter­parts from the 10-mem­ber As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions at an an­nual re­gional gath­er­ing. He is the top US of­fi­cial to visit Thailand since its 2014 coup. Thailand has long been one of Wash­ing­ton’s clos­est re­gional al­lies, but re­la­tions have been strained over US crit­i­cism of Thailand’s military gov­ern­ment for its re­pres­sion of crit­ics and fail­ure to re­store democ­racy. How­ever, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion has made hu­man rights less of a pri­or­ity than did its pre­de­ces­sors. Thailand, like other South­east Asian coun­tries, has also been cul­ti­vat­ing closer ties with China, caus­ing con­ster­na­tion in Wash­ing­ton. — Agen­cies

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