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Thailand prime minister to visit White House on Oct. 3
September 26, 2017 / 2:14 AM / 22 days ago

Thailand prime minister to visit White House on Oct. 3

Thailand's Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

WASHINGTON/BANGKOK (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha at the White House on Oct. 3, the White House said in a statement.

“The President and Prime Minister will discuss ways to strengthen and broaden bilateral relations and enhance cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region,” the statement said.

Confirmation of the visit is the latest sign of warming ties between Bangkok and Washington. The relationship between the two had cooled after the Thai military took power in a 2014 coup.

It follows a visit to Thailand by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in August - the highest level visit by a U.S. official since the 2014 coup.

“The meeting of the two leaders reflects the importance of the strengthening of the alliance between Thailand and the U.S.,” the Thai Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

“The two countries will discuss ways to forge ahead in becoming strategic partners for the benefit of both nations equally and sustainable,”

Prayuth and members of his cabinet will also be meeting with representatives of Thai businesses in the United States during the three day visit.

Thailand is often cited as the United States’ oldest ally in Southeast Asia and the United States has been urging the region to do more to cut funding streams to North Korea.

Tensions have mounted on the Korean peninsula since North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3.

The United States has said it believes North Korean front companies are active in Thailand and it is trying to encourage the Thais to shut them down, but Thailand last month said trade between Thailand and North Korea had dropped by as much as 94 percent over the past year.

Reporting by Eric Beech in WASHINGTON and Panu Wongcha-um in BANGKOK; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Michael Perry

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