US scraps engagement with Thailand

The Defense and State departments pulled out of a number of programs with Thailand after the country's military staged a coup earlier this week. 

The announcements come a day after the State Department suspended $3.5 million in aid to the country and said it is reviewing the remaining $7 million in assistance. 


The United States urged the Royal Thai Armed Forces to restore the rule of law, return to Democracy and release detained political leaders following the country's 12th military takeover in the last 80 years, the most recent coming in 2006. 

"While we have enjoyed a long and productive military-to-military relationship with Thailand, our own democratic principles and U.S. law require us to reconsider U.S. military assistance and engagements," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement. 

Federal law bars the government from providing aid to Democratic countries toppled in a coup. 

The U.S. Navy pulled out of an ongoing maritime security training program with eight other Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, which is called the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2014. 

It also canceled a scheduled June visit to the country by U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Harry Harris and an invitation to a Thai general to meet with U.S. Pacific Command.

The State Department canceled trips for Thai police who were scheduled to meet with U.S. law enforcement and ended a firearm training program for Thai Police, which was supposed to begin next week. 

"We urge the immediate restoration of civilian rule and release of detained political leaders, a return to democracy through early elections, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms," the State Department said in a statement. 

Recently, the United States refrained from defining military takeovers in Egypt or Libya as coups, which would have cut off U.S. assistance.

The Pentagon said it would review its engagement with the country until events in Thailand change.