Washington round­ing up al­lies to help halt Py­ongyang’s nu­clear am­bi­tions

New Straits Times - - World -

BANGKOK trade with the reclu­sive regime.

In 2014, the two coun­tries shared trade worth US$126 mil­lion (RM540 mil­lion), ac­cord­ing to Thai­land’s Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, nearly a three-fold in­crease since 2009.

But Amer­ica wants Thai­land to crack down on North Korean firms that use the cap­i­tal as a trad­ing hub through front busi­nesses, said act­ing US As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of State for East Asian Af­fairs Su­san Thorn­ton.

Tiller­son is also lean­ing on the king­dom to tighten visa re­quire­ments for North Kore­ans en­ter­ing Thai­land and squeeze its diplo­matic mis­sion, Thorn­ton added.

Thai junta chief Prayuth ChanO-Cha beamed as he wel­comed the US en­voy to Gov­ern­ment House.

Af­ter their meet­ing, a Thai gov­ern­ment spokesman said the king­dom was ready to “co­op­er­ate and give its sup­port” to solve the cri­sis on the Korean penin­sula, adding the king­dom “is com­ply­ing with” beefed-up UN sanc­tions tar­get­ing Py­ongyang.

Those sanc­tions could cost North Korea US$1 bil­lion a year.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion is re­shap­ing Amer­ica’s ap­proach to the Thai junta af­ter re­la­tions hit the buf­fers fol­low­ing the 2014 coup.

The US con­demned the takeover and dis­tanced it­self from the regime, trim­ming back mil­i­tary aid.

But re­la­tions are on a bet­ter foot­ing un­der Trump, with the US pres­i­dent ex­tend­ing an in­vi­ta­tion to Prayuth. AFP

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