Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

US Secretary of State Tillerson arrives in Thailand

US Secretary of State Tillerson arrives in Thailand

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, formerly chief executive of Exxon Mobil and new to government, has initiated a top-to-bottom re-organization of the agency, saying it will improve diplomats' experience and help the department better meet 21st-century challenges.

Despite implementing the UNSC's resolutions on North Korea and taking other related actions on the issue, he said Thailand remained friends with both Washington and Pyongyang. "But we need to abide by the United Nations resolution", said Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.

Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai indicated to reporters that he and Tillerson had discussed Washington's efforts to ensure that pressure was maintained on North Korea to drop its nuclear weapons program.

Don's statement came hours after his discussion with Tillerson, who was on the first official visit to Thailand.

Malaysia's relations with the USA had warmed after Najib took office in 2009 but he has increasingly leaned toward China، which had become Malaysia's biggest trading partner.

Tillerson, the highest level United States official visiting Thailand since 2014, met with Prayut and his Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai.

Since the May 2014 coup, Thailand has been under military rule.

"For Thailand, if it expects to get back in business as usual with the USA, it needs to open with lifting repression of fundamental rights and freedoms immediately", he said.

Among bilateral topics discussed is Prayut's upcoming visit to the White House. General Prayut is due to visit Washington at the invitation of US President Donald Trump, though no specific date has been set.

"Both countries are in preparation for the visit but we can not confirm the timing at this stage", Don said.

On the South China Sea issues and crisis on the Korean Peninsula, Prayut told Tillerson of Thailand's readiness to extend cooperation and support to the United States.

"I see no conflict - no conflict at all in our helping them with that situation [on Islamic State] and our views of the human rights concerns we have with respect to how they carry out their counter-narcotics activities", Tillerson said.

"We want Thailand to emerge as a strengthened democracy that respects and guarantees human rights and fundamental freedoms at home and plays a leading role in advancing regional security and prosperity", a USA embassy spokesman said.

Rex Tillerson, who has frequently visited in Thailand at the time, he was director of ExxonMobil, told the staff of the american embassy in Bangkok that it was "developing" the relationship with the old ally, the historical background of the United States during the Vietnam war.

He had met Prime Minister Najib Razak after arriving late Tuesday from Bangkok.

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