BANGKOK – Thailand’s Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered government officials to closely monitor meetings between a high-ranking US embassy officials with co-leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (Red Shirts) in the north and northeast, Deputy Defence Minister Army Chief Gen Udomdej Sitabutr said today.
The reported meetings between the US embassy official here with co-leaders of the UDD movement opposed to the current caretaker military government came while several prominent UDD members and ministers in the ousted former government were summoned for talks with senior military officers of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) after they had criticised the government.
The meetings also came after Daniel Russel, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, visited Bangkok earlier this week and denounced the continued enforcement of martial law by the NCPO and the recent impeachment of ex-prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Prime Minister’s Office Minister Suwaphan Tanyuwatthana has expressed disappointment that U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel criticized Thailand, saying Thailand had the right to implement policies, both domestically and internationally.
Mr Suwaphan said the diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Thailand had been continued for longer than 200 years and the U.S. should be aware of it. Asked if Thailand’s retaliation against the U.S. would affect regional cooperation, the official said it might not since everyone had the right to expression.
The minister added that he personally felt disappointed with the U.S. since Thailand had greatly assisted the U.S. in terms of national security. The U.S. should look at Thailand with understanding eyes, said the minister. -MCOT