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British foreign secretary urges Thailand to uphold democracy

British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Wednesday urged Thailand to uphold democracy as political violence escalated ahead of an election.

"It’s important that constitutional democracy is upheld," Hague said in Jakarta after talks with his Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa.

"This is a matter for the people of Thailand, but I hope their political leaders will find a way forward," he said.

Opponents of Thailand’s caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra have staged protests since early November to demand her resignation.

Ten people have been killed and more than 570 injured in politically related violence. Protesters have occupied several key intersections in Bangkok since January 13 in an attempt to scuttle an election scheduled for Sunday.

The poll is expected to return the incumbent Pheu Thai Party to power.

Hague also expressed concerns about tensions between China, Japan and South Korea over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

"Recent tensions in North-East Asia are of course a concern," he said. "We discussed the importance of a rule-based approach to addressing the dispute."


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