Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

US Secretary of State meets Najib

US Secretary of State meets Najib

Allied traditional Washington, Thailand is however one of the few countries in South-East Asia to host an embassy of north korea, and has strong trade linkages with Pyongyang.

Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai indicated to reporters that he and Tillerson had discussed Washington's efforts to ensure that pressure was maintained on North Korea to drop its nuclear weapons program.

In Thailand, where Tillerson became the highest-ranking USA official to visit since the 2014 military coup, he sought Tuesday to encourage the country's transition back to democracy and asked Thai leaders to put the squeeze on the North Korean diplomatic mission based there.

The United States was encouraging Thailand to take as many North Korean refugees as it can handle, Thornton said.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, walking with Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican, upon arrival at RMAF base in Subang, August 8, 2017.

Up to 94% of trade volume between Thailand and North Korea has been cut from a year ago, Don said.

Thailand exported US$73.8 million worth of products to North Korea in 2015, according to the United Nations worldwide trade statistics database.

During his five-hour visit to Bangkok, Tillerson signed a condolence book for the revered late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, whose death after seven decades on the throne was felt deeply in Thailand.

Tillerson's discussions with Don followed from a regional meeting held in Manila from Saturday to Monday, where the U.S. official rallied support from the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to pressure North Korea into dropping its nuclear weapon programme.

Tillerson was the first top US official to visit Thailand since the nation's military seized power from an elected civilian government three years ago، causing relations with the United States to sour.

Thailand and the U.S. are treaty allies but relations hit a low after the military takeover three years ago (2014). In June, Thailand confirmed its purchase of four Black Hawk helicopters from the U.S., which has sold the Kingdom about US$380 million worth of military equipment since the 2014 coup.

"Regarding the situation on the Korean peninsula, Thailand is ready to cooperate and provide assistance", has, however, assured the spokesman of the junta, Werachon Sukhondapatipak.

Activists say the Trump administration is minimizing human rights concerns in a country still run by a military government.

Don said that in his 45-minute talk with Tillerson, "Nothing was discussed about human rights".

US State Secretary Rex Tillerson, left, is greeted by Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Allan Peter Cayetano in Manila, Philippines.

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