US-Thai Military Cooperation Stalled after Coup

Air Force officials are scaling back and reviewing activities with the Thai military in the aftermath of a May coup in the Asian nation that shows little signs of a political resolution. The United States “remains committed to our longstanding alliance with Thailand and cooperation on shared interests,” Air Force spokesman Ed Gulick told Air Force Magazine on Monday. However, after the coup, “all military engagement and exercises that the US had scheduled with Thailand are being re-examined,” he said. The Defense Department has canceled or delayed several high-level visits with Thai military officials in the coup’s aftermath and disinvited the Thais from participating in this year’s Rim of the Pacific Exercise, a massive naval exercise around Hawaii that runs until August. One of Pacific Air Forces’ largest events, Exercise Cope Tiger, took place in March before the coup. US officials have criticized the Thai military for its post-coup actions. Gulick said the United States urges restoration of civilian rule, release of political leaders, and a return to democracy through early elections.