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Thailand tells Tillerson trade with N. Korea has fallen sharply
10 August 2017, 07:52 | Randall Craig
Thais hope to get off Trump's trade hit list
Allied traditional Washington, Thailand is however one of the few countries in South-East Asia to host an embassy of north korea, and has strong trade linkages with Pyongyang.
Gen Prayut is tipped to visit the U.S. in October, but Mr Don said it is not yet confirmed.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Malaysian leaders discussed security issues and bilateral relations during the U.S. top diplomat's visit to the country, local media reported Wednesday.
The foreign minister said the statement was not meant merely to pressure North Korea but to address the issue constructively.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, walking with Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican, upon arrival at RMAF base in Subang, August 8, 2017.
Mr Don told reporters that he informed Mr Tillerson that trade value fell 94% during the first half of this year compared with the same period of last year, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.
Officially, North Korea's exports of electrical equipment and chemical, Thailand sending North Korea, sugar, fish and rubber.
During his five-hour visit to Bangkok, Tillerson signed a condolence book for the revered late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, whose death after seven decades on the throne was felt deeply in Thailand.
Tillerson was visiting Bangkok after participating in a series of meetings in Manila organised by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Thailand is a member. Both countries have maintained diplomatic ties for 42 years.
He is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Thailand since Gen Prayut lead a bloodless coup in May 2014 that overthrew the country's elected government.
"For Thailand, if it expects to get back in business as usual with the US, it needs to open with lifting repression of fundamental rights and freedoms immediately", he said.
After being put on the USA list, Thailand defended itself with a 22-page justification that covered everything from its support for the United States in the Korean War to investment by U.S. companies in Thailand.
"We want Thailand to emerge as a strengthened democracy that respects and guarantees human rights and fundamental freedoms at home and plays a leading role in advancing regional security and prosperity", a U.S. embassy spokesman said.
Since the overthrow of the civilian government in Thailand by a military junta, ultra-royalist, the gatherings of a political nature, remain prohibited, among other restrictions on freedom of expression, criticised by Washington after the coup.
Tillerson arrived here Tuesday after attending a series of ASEAN and related foreign ministers' meetings in the Philippines.
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