Date
19 September 2017
Thai soldiers stand guard in a Bangkok street on Thursday after the army chief took control of the government in a coup. Photo: Reuters
Thai soldiers stand guard in a Bangkok street on Thursday after the army chief took control of the government in a coup. Photo: Reuters

Sanctions loom for Thailand after military coup

The United States said it is reviewing military and other assistance it gives to Thailand following a coup in the Southeast Asian nation which saw the armed forces seize control of the government.

Expressing disappointment over the Thai military action and warning of negative implications in ties between the two nations, US Secretary of State John Kerry urged immediate restoration of civilian rule and a return to democracy.

Kerry, traveling in Mexico, said there were no grounds for the removal of the Thai government.

“I am concerned by reports that senior political leaders of Thailand’s major parties have been detained and call for their release,” he said. The coup would have “negative implications . . .  especially for our ­relationship with the Thai ­military,” Financial Times quoted him as saying.

The comments came after Thai army chief formally seized control of power Thursday, declaring a military coup and detaining several ministers and faction leaders, after two days of talks to negotiate an end to a months-long political impasse failed.

General Prayuth Chan-ocha said in a televised statement that the military needed “to seize control of the situation in the country”, citing worries that political violence in the country could escalate, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The military ordered Acting Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan and cabinet ministers to immediately report to an army base, terminating a government that has been under siege by protesters and suspended the constitution except for articles relating to the monarchy.

Apart from the US, other major world powers also slammed the Thai military action. The UK said it is “concerned” about the coup, with the Foreign Office warning that “political instability and the continued violence undermine Thailand’s democratic framework”.

The EU said it was following developments with “extreme ­concern”.

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RA/RC

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