The United States cares deeply about our relationship with the Thai people and with Thailand, a longstanding friend and ally. For the past ten years, however, Thai politics has been dominated by debate, protests, and even occasional violence between groups competing for political influence,” said U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Scot Marciel. “These divisions led to a coup in 2006 and again, unfortunately, [on May 22nd of this year].”
The latest coup came at the end of six months of intense political struggle between rival groups that included months-long demonstrations in the streets of Bangkok and occupations of government buildings.
Military leaders who staged the coup argued that it was necessary to prevent violence, end political paralysis, and create the conditions for a stronger democracy.
“Our position . . . has been . . . consistently stressing our support for democratic principles and commitment to our relationship with the Thai nation,” Mr. Marciel said. “We publicly and privately stated our opposition to a coup or other extra-constitutional actions, stressing that the only solution in a democracy is to let the people select the leaders and policies they prefer through elections.”
The United States has called for the restoration of civilian rule, a return to democracy, and full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.
“The ruling military council [which staged the coup] has continuously summoned, detained, and intimidated hundreds of political figures, academics, journalists, online commentators, and peaceful protesters.” “It continues to censor local media sources and the internet.”
“The deep-rooted underlying issues and differences of opinion that fuel this division can only be resolved by the people of Thailand through democratic processes.” Mr. Marciel said. “After democracy is restored, we fully hope and intend that Thailand will continue to be a crucial partner in Asia for many decades to come.”