BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai Deputy Prime Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula said on Thursday that the United States has more confidence in Thailand’s government, four months after the military seized power in a bloodless coup.
Thailand’s military government is seeking international legitimacy following the May 22 coup that was condemned by Western nations who downgraded diplomatic ties. The government has previously portrayed meetings with diplomats as endorsements.
His comments came after a meeting with US ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney at Bangkok’s Government House ahead of Kenney’s return to Washington next month following the end of her Thailand posting.
“Ambassador Kristie came to bid farewell. They wanted to know how this government works,” Pridiyathorn told reporters.
“We explained that we work sincerely. Once we talked they could see that we are serious about our work. After we explained our work I looked into her eyes and saw that she is more confident.”
The army declared martial law nationwide two days before it seized power following six months of sometimes deadly street protests that contributed to the ousting of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whose populist government was opposed by the Bangkok royalist establishment.
The US Embassy Bangkok said in a statement it would continue to evaluate its engagement with Thailand, its closest ally in Southeast Asia.
“We continue to evaluate carefully our engagement with and assistance to Thailand, reviewing all military and senior level engagements on a case-by-case basis. We continue to urge Thai authorities to immediately lift martial law and restrictions of civil liberties, and to call for the speedy restoration of democracy under a freely and fairly elected civilian government,” the embassy said in an e-mailed statement.