TILLERSON PRESSES JUNTA ON N. KOREA
Washington rounding up allies to help halt Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions
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