NCPO 'not moving closer' to China

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) denies it is intentionally developing closer connections with China in retaliation against the negative reaction to the May 22 coup by the United States.

NCPO spokesman Col Winthai Suvaree said on Thursday many people had made a unilateral judgement that the NCPO was turning to China rather than the US.

In fact, the NCPO was trying to explain its objectives to all countries and it had not changed Thailand's  international policies.

Col Winthai said the NCPO was using all channels in making its explanation. They included Thai offices worldwide.

In the meantime, the NCPO was trying to solve national problems to pave the way for a general election that would restore confidence, the spokesman said.

Col Winthai also said NCPO deputy chief and Supreme Commander Tanasak Patimapragorn had invited US ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenny to meet him to discuss Thai-American cooperation.

He had learned from the ambassador that Washington had not decided to relocate the Cobra Gold joint military drill  with Thailand to Australia, as proposed by Scot Marciel, principal deputy assistant secretary to the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the US State Department.

The US ambassador was informed that NCPO chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha understood that the US reaction and reduction of assistance to Thailand were the usual responses to a coup, Col Winthai said.

He said the US cancelled a US$4.7 million sponsorship for US-Thai military exercises and a fund for inspection exchanges with the Royal Thai Police Office, and was considering suspending other financial assistance for Thailand under its US$10.5 million assistance budget earlier approved for Thailand.

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