By Kristina Wong - 05/22/14 01:02 PM EDT
The U.S. is reviewing whether to declare the military takeover in Thailand a coup, a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday.
"Well, first, this only happened several hours ago. So we're currently reviewing," said Army Col. Steve Warren, when asked if the military’s actions in Bangkok were a coup.
Under American law, formally declaring the takeover a “coup” could trigger sanctions and cut off U.S. military and non-humanitarian aid to Thailand.
There are approximately 700 U.S. troops currently in Thailand as part of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) naval exercise.
"Specifically, here in the [Defense] Department, we're reviewing our military-to-military assistance, and engagements, including the CARAT exercise," Warren said.
"We're reviewing our options now and we'll let you know when we've come to a decision," he added, when asked if U.S. troops would have to leave the country if the administration determines a coup took place.
In 2013, the Obama administration avoided declaring the military takeover in Egypt a coup, despite pressure from lawmakers.
Supporters of the decision said triggering laws that cut off non-humanitarian aid to the military regime would have cost the U.S. leverage as it sought to push Egypt back to democratic rule.