Date
24 September 2017
Daniel Russell is the highest US official to visit Thailand since the coup. He reiterated Washington's call for more inclusive politics and an end to martial law, according to the State Department. Photo: Reuters
Daniel Russell is the highest US official to visit Thailand since the coup. He reiterated Washington's call for more inclusive politics and an end to martial law, according to the State Department. Photo: Reuters

Thailand to US: Keep off our politics

Thailand summoned a top American envoy after accusing the United States of meddling in its political affairs.

It said many Thais were hurt by remarks of visiting US Secretary of State for East Asia Daniel Russel who criticized actions by the ruling military junta, Reuters reported Thursday.

The long-time US ally expressed its displeasure about the remarks by summoning US charge d’affaires Patrick Murphy to the foreign ministry in Bangkok.

Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the US State Department said Murphy reiterated the US call for more inclusive politics and an end to martial law.

He also expressed Washington’s hope “that we will continue to have an ongoing dialogue”, Psaki said.

Relations between the two sides have deteriorated since Thailand’s military coup in May, with Washington freezing aid and canceling some security cooperation.

The United States also scaled back its annual Cobra Gold joint military exercise with Thailand, limiting its scope to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Psaki said she was not aware of any additional changes to this plan.

Russel was the highest-level US official to visit Thailand since the coup. His comments came a few days after ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was banned from politics for five years and indicted on criminal charges over a state rice-buying scheme.

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