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Coup erodes Thailand's US and ASEAN ties

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Subject

Outlook for Thailand's ties with other South-east Asian powers and the United States.

Significance

As Thailand moves uncertainly toward a new constitution and parliamentary elections in 2016, the junta is seeking this year to strengthen relations with other South-east Asian governments and regional powers. The junta aims to boost investor confidence and its political legitimacy by reclaiming Thailand's past role as a major ASEAN actor.

Impacts

  • A Code of Conduct with China in the South China Sea is unlikely.
  • Despite rhetorical rifts, Washington and Bangkok will continue to cooperate on key regional issues, such as Cobra Gold military exercises.
  • To Beijing, US ties with South-east Asia will justify China's military aggrandisement and cultivation of regional proxies such as Laos.
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