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US cuts more Thailand aid, considers moving exercises

WASHINGTON - The United States said Tuesday 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 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 in aid just one 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.

AFP




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