Thailand's arms deals with US a sign of closer ties

But China's influence not waning, as junta also buys arms from it

US Marines participating in an amphibious assault exercise, as part of the Cobra Gold joint exercise at a military base in Chonburi province in Thailand earlier this year.
US Marines participating in an amphibious assault exercise, as part of the Cobra Gold joint exercise at a military base in Chonburi province in Thailand earlier this year.PHOTO: REUTERS

Ties between Thailand and the United States have been thawing with offers of arms packages and security collaborations from the kingdom's long-time ally, even as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's government continues to procure arms from China.

Minister of Defence Prawit Wongsuwan's visit to the Pentagon last month saw US Defence Secretary James Mattis pledging "support for enhancing maritime security cooperation, multilateral exercises such as Cobra Gold, and building inter-operability through a strong defence trade relationship".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2018, with the headline 'Thailand's arms deals with US a sign of closer ties'. Subscribe