Washington, May 25 (IANS) The US announced Saturday that it would curtail military ties with Thailand, including cancelling ongoing military exercises, as part of its efforts to heighten pressure on the Thai military to restore the civilian rule.
In response to the military coup in the Southeast Asian county, Washington has cancelled the ongoing Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2014 and rescinded an invitation to Royal Thai Armed Forces Commander General Thanasak Patimaprakorn to visit US Pacific Command in June, Xinhua quoted Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby as saying in a statement.
The visit to Thailand by US Pacific Fleet commander Harry Harris, which was set for next month, has also been cancelled.
Kirby said the US urged Thai military leaders to end the coup and restore both the principles and the process of democratic rule, including a clear path forward to elections.
“While we have enjoyed a long and productive military-to-military relationship with Thailand, our own democratic principles and US law require us to reconsider US military assistance and engagements,” he said.
“We will continue to review additional engagements as necessary until such time that events in Thailand no longer demand it.
“We urge the Royal Thai Armed Forces to act in the best interests of their fellow citizens by ending this coup and restoring the rule of law and the freedoms assured those citizens through democratic principles.”
In a separate statement, US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said that Washington has also cancelled a US government-sponsored study trip to the US, scheduled for June, for several senior Royal Thai Police officers.
“We urge the immediate restoration of civilian rule and release of detained political leaders, a return to democracy through early elections, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Harf said.
The Thai military Thursday seized control of the country following months of unrest and widespread protests in Bangkok and other parts of the nation. Thai military junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha later declared himself acting prime minister until someone can be found to serve the post full time.