Sunday, July 22, 2018 02:57:13 AM
Reuters, Bangkok :
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday pressed Thai leaders for more action on North Korea during the highest level visit to Thailand by a U.S. official since a military coup in 2014 soured relations with the United States.
Tillerson's top priority has been urging Southeast Asian countries to do more to cut funding streams for North Korea.
The United States believes North Korean front companies are active in Thailand and is trying to encourage the Thais to shut them down, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton told reporters aboard Tillerson's plane.
The companies are using Bangkok as a regional hub and change their names frequently, she said.
Before meeting Tillerson, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Thailand would support a U.N. resolution on new sanctions on Pyongyang over its missile tests. But he made no mention of specific action.
The United States was encouraging Thailand to take as many North Korean refugees as it can handle, Thornton said. Reuters reported exclusively last week that the number of North Koreans slipping illegally into Thailand has surged in recent months.
Thailand's own politics and human rights record were also in focus, as Washington strengthens relations with its oldest ally in the region after they were downgraded following the coup.
"We want Thailand to emerge as a strengthened democracy that respects and guarantees human rights and fundamental freedoms at home and plays a leading role in advancing regional security and prosperity," a US embassy spokesman said.
Tillerson offered no specific message on human rights when he spoke to the American community at the ambassador's residence and highlighted the 200-year-old relationship.
"We want to continue to grow that relationship, even in its ups and downs," he said.
Tillerson met Thailand's foreign minister, Don Pramudwinai, before junta chief Prayuth. Don also emphasized support for the U.N. resolution on North Korea.
Following his meeting with Tillerson, Don told reporters in Bangkok that trade between Thailand and North Korea had dropped by as much as 94 percent over the past year.
"Thailand will act as a good member of the United Nations ... one result is trade which dropped significantly. It dropped 94 percent," Don told reporters.
U.S. President Donald Trump has spoken to Prayuth by telephone and invited him to the White House, but no date has been set yet.
Human rights groups have voiced concern about the re-establishment of normal relations while Thailand's junta continues to crack down on critics.
"It would be a practical mistake for Tillerson to not condition positive diplomatic relations on improvements in the protection of human rights," Matthew Smith, of the Fortify Rights group, told Reuters.
Thailand's military seized power in May 2014 after months of street protests with a promise to eventually restore democracy, but elections will not happen before next year and a new constitution retains a powerful political say for the army.
Since the coup, Thailand has aligned itself more closely with Beijing, and this year approved purchases of more than $500 million worth of Chinese submarines, tanks and helicopters, besides construction of a new rail link.
The day is finally here and Ishaan Khatter - Janhvi Kapoor starrer Dhadak has hit the theatres. The film that marks the debut of late actress Sridevi's daughter opposite Shahid Kapoor's younger brother has won audiences heart. A remake of the Marathi blockbuster Sairat, Dhadak is helmed by director Shashank ...
Sanju has become one of the biggest hits of Bollywood. Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, Sanju gives us a glimpse of the controversial life of Sanjay Dutt and touches upon sensitive issues like his addiction to drugs, his difficulty in dealing with the passing away of his mother and the label ...
THE lack of government's desire over holding elections to the regional council and the three District Councils in Chattogram Hill Tracts has long been depriving indigenous people of their right to have elected representatives in the local bodies. News media reported that for almost two decades, the District Councils have ...
AP, United Nations : The United States on Friday welcomed the U.N. Security Council's united support for the fully verified denuclearization of North Korea and pressed China and Russia to strictly enforce U.N. sanctions to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused North Korea ...
ROHINGYA refugees reaching Bangladesh said violence, including torture, persists against them in Myanmar and the overall environment remains "menacing" for ethnic and religious minorities. UN human rights investigators carried out the Rohingya's plight after a five-day visit to the refugee camp of Kutupalong in Cox's Bazar where they interviewed new ...
AFP, Los Angeles :Juan Mata grabbed the 78th minute equalizer as Manchester United opened their pre-season with a 1-1 draw against Club America on Thursday in Phoenix, Arizona.A header from Henry Martin in the 59th minute - past substitute goalkeeper Joel Pereira - had put Mexican outfit America in the ...
Sheikh Arif Bulbon :There was a family relationship between Kolkata’s popular film actress Rituparna Sengupta and Bangladeshi popular late hero Manna and his wife Shelly Manna. As a result, when Rituparna came to Bangladesh she always met Shelly Manna at her residence. Manna’s production house Kritanjali Chalachchitra is going to ...
AP, New Delhi :Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi accused the government of failing to live up to its promises as the Indian Parliament on Friday debated a no-confidence motion moved by the opposition against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, accused the government of ...
BBC Online :US opposition politicians are calling for Donald Trump's interpreter to testify before Congress about his summit talks with Vladimir Putin.The lead Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, called for Marina Gross to be subpoenaed to appear at the committee.Controversy has raged over the summit, with ...