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Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 13:45 PM | 28-01-2015

Thai junta chief ‘upset’ by US criticism

Thailand’s junta chief said on Wednesday (28 Jan 2015) he was “upset” by comments from a senior US diplomat during a recent visit criticising the military regime, as Washington’s top envoy in Bangkok was summoned for a meeting with Thai officials.

On Monday US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel urged Thailand’s generals to implement  a “more inclusive political process” after meeting ousted former premier Yingluck Shinawatra.

He added that moves against Yingluck since the military takeover -- which have included a retroactive impeachment by the country’s rubber-stamp parliament, and corruption charges -- could be perceived as being “politically driven."

But the visit and Russel’s decision to meet Yingluck have hit a raw nerve with Thailand’s junta rulers, who took over in a May coup strongly condemned by Washington.

“I have instructed the foreign ministry to convey the message that we are upset over the comments and that they (the US) have not understood how we work,” junta chief and premier Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters on Wednesday, placing his right hand on his heart as he spoke.

His comments were echoed by Deputy Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai who said Russel had “wounded the hearts of many Thai people,” adding that he had “invited” the current head of Washington’s embassy in Bangkok -- Charges d’Affaires W. Patrick Murphy -- to talk  about the visit.

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