US cuts more Thailand aid, considers moving exercises

Tags: News
The United States said it has suspended more assistance to Thailand in response to a military coup and was considering moving a major regional exercise out of the kingdom.

Washington has blocked $4.7 million in security-related aid to Thailand, which accounts for roughly half of its $10.5 million in annual assistance to the longtime ally, State Department official Scot Marciel yesterday said in testimony to Congress.

The United States swiftly rebuked Thailand's military after it defied warnings not to intervene in the political chaos. The State Department announced that it had frozen $3.5 million a day after the May 22 coup.

The additionally suspended assistance has included a US-sponsored firearms training program for the Thai police and a study trip to the United States for senior Thai police officers, another US official said.

Marciel said that the United States was also considering moving next year's Cobra Gold -- one of the largest US military exercises and a key element in the US strategy of pivoting power to Asia. The United States and Thailand have held the annual exercises together since 1980, this year involving some 13,000 participants from US-friendly nations across the region.

"We'll certainly be looking at it very closely. It will depend partly on what happens on the ground there," Marciel said in response to a question.

Representative Steve Chabot, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Asia, said that exercises in Thailand "could clearly send the wrong message" to Thailand and around the world "in light of the repressive nature" of the junta.

Chabot called on President Barack Obama's administration to study moving the 2015 exercises, generally held early each year, to Darwin, Australia, where some 2,500 US Marines are deploying as part of the pivot to Asia.

EDITORIAL OF THE DAY

  • By banning the sale of BS-III vehicles, SC has ruled in favour of public health

    Automobiles, commercial vehicles and two-wheeler manufacturers have no alternative but to comply with the Supreme Court directive of not selling BS-II

FC NEWSLETTER

Stay informed on our latest news!

TODAY'S COLUMNS

Sandeep Bamzai

Cut & Thrust: SRK’s ALPHABET SOUP

On Saturday, the Enforcement Directorate sent a show cause notice ...

Ananda Majumdar

Power of risk in politics

A counter na-rrative appears to be emerging in the ongoing ...

Zehra Naqvi

Success lies in learning to embrace failure

Among the thronging multitudes that offer you lessons on success, ...