Coup in Thailand: U.S. cuts foreign aid, severs military contact until democracy restored
By End the Lie
The U.S. Department of State on Saturday announced widespread moves to distance the United States from Thailand after the military coup and the suspension of the constitution on Thursday.
The coup began on Thursday as the Thai military suspended the constitution and took control of the government, shut down media outlets and detained the political leaders of Thai parties, all of which U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said “concerned” him.
On Saturday, the military also dismissed the upper house Senate, which was the only remaining legislature in Thailand.
The Pentagon canceled three planned events with the Royal Thai Armed Forces, according to Fox News, and also suggested that U.S. military aid could be stopped completely.
The relations between the U.S. military and Thailand will remain fractured until the new leaders restore democracy and establish “a clear path forward to elections.”
While the State Department did not outright say that military and other assistance would be canceled across the board, they said they “continue to review” it “consistent with U.S. law,” in a statement released Saturday.
The Thai military “will tighten its grip on power on Sunday as it moves to douse smoldering protests before they flare and rally commercial agencies and business to revitalize the country’s battered economy,” according to Reuters.
Protests continue to pop up around Thailand’s capital, according to The Wall Street Journal.
On Saturday, the military ordered 35 more people to surrender, including politicians, political activists, academics and journalists, according to Fox News.
One of the academics, Kyoto University professor of Southeast Asian studies Pavin Chachavalpongpun, who is currently in Japan, said he would not turn himself in.
“The military claiming to be a mediator in the Thai conflict, that is all just nonsense,” he said. “This is not about paving the way for reform and democratization. We are really going back to the crudest form of authoritarianism.”
In addition to cutting off multiple military engagements planned for the near future, the U.S. government said they would call off all non-essential visits to Thailand, according to AFP.
The U.S. State Department also called on U.S. citizens to “reconsider any non-essential travel to Thailand.”
“US citizens are advised to stay alert, exercise caution and monitor international and Thai media,” the State Department advisory said.