BANGKOK (AFP) – Thailand’s coup leader and premier Prayuth Chan-ocha will visit Myanmar on his first official overseas trip, an official said Friday, as the junta seeks to strengthen ties with its former military-ruled neighbour.
Prayuth will travel to Myanmar “as soon as possible”, deputy foreign minister Don Pramudwinai told AFP, saying the trip could take place by the end of this month or early October.
“The Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Myanmar as his first foreign country because Myanmar currently chairs Asean,” Don said, referring to the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations of which Thailand is also a member.
Prayuth is next expected to visit other Asean member states beginning with Malaysia, he added.
For decades, former military-ruled Myanmar was treated as a pariah state by the West, but since a nominally civilian government took power in 2011, the nation has been lauded for its dramatic reforms.
Thailand’s coup makers, meanwhile, have been chided by the United States and the European Union for grabbing power from an elected government in May, spurring the junta to boost relations with Asian neighbours instead.