Obama administration cancels military training exercise with Thailand due to coup

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The Obama administration said Saturday it has canceled a major military training exercise with Thailand, and a visit by U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Harry Harris, in response to last week’s coup by the Thai army.

But the U.S. stopped short of cutting off all military-to-military cooperation with the traditional ally in southeast Asia.


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Pentagon spokesman Admiral John Kirby said the U.S. canceled the ongoing military training exercise known as the Exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training.

The U.S. military also revoked an invitation to the commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces to visit the U.S. Pacific Command next month, Adm. Kirby said.

“As we have made clear, it is important that the Royal Thai Armed Forces end this coup and restore to the people of Thailand both the principles and the process of democratic rule, including a clear path forward to elections,” said Adm. Kirby.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Saturday that the U.S. also has canceled a U.S. government-sponsored firearms training program in Thailand for the Royal Thai Police that had been slated to begin May 26, and a U.S. government-sponsored study trip to the United States, scheduled for June, for several senior Royal Thai Police officers.

“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,” Ms. Harf said.

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