US army chief of staff inks “strategic vision” pact with Thailand
BANGKOK (THAILAND) – US Army Chief of Staff General James McConville held discussions with Thailand’s prime minister and its army chief on Friday. This is the first high-level visit by a foreign delegation to Thailand since the coronavirus disrupted international travel.
The chief of staff met with Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and Thai army chief Apirat Kongsompong. A US embassy statement said McConville inked a Strategic Vision Statement. This comes as the United States looks to reassure its allies about its commitment to the region.
According to the embassy, the US chief of staff discussed “modernisation, interoperability, joint training, and doctrine”.
Thailand is the oldest ally of the US in Asia but the relations were strained after a 2014 military coup led by then-army chief Prayuth, ousting the civilian government.
When the US scaled back military exchanges with Thailand, Bangkok forged closer ties with Beijing.
However, US-Thailand ties improved in 2019 after the general election that restored civilian rule while Prayuth remains a civilian leader. This brought about a deal for US-made armoured personnel carriers and light attack helicopters.
Prayuth on Friday also said it would receive $2 million in US aid to fight the spread of coronavirus.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field