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US suspends military aid to Thailand after coup

Washington, May 26 (): The US has suspended about $3.5 million in military assistance to Thailand following a coup, the State Department said Friday.

Marie Harf, spokeswoman of State Department, said the United States has already suspended approximately $3.5 million in funding and training for the Thai military and was going through the rest of US help to Thailand — which totalled some $10.5 million in 2013 to look for more cuts.

The move to suspend assistance seems to be a measured response since the military took control of the country, and came as the Thai military placed former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra under detention along with dozens of other politicians.

The US State Department has insisted its country men to reconsider any non-essential travel to Thailand, particularly to Bangkok, due to the ongoing social and political unrest and limitations on inner movements, including an indefinite night time curfew throughout Thailand. They have also stopped non-essential visits to the country by government officials, urging armed forces of Thailand to restore the civilian rule “immediately”.

The Pentagon said that US Army Chief General Raymond T Odierno called his Thai counterpart General Prayuth Chan-ocha on Thursday and urged him to return the country to democratic rule.

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State said Thursday he was “disappointed” by the decision of the Thai military to suspend the constitution and take control of the government after a long period of political turmoil.

Earlier, Kerry had strongly condemned the coup of Thursday. He said “no justification” was followed and the move may cause “negative consequences” for relations. He insisted on the re-establishment of a civilian government, respect for press freedom and early elections.

The country has been in an almost constant state of political disturbance in recent years, with this being the 12th coup since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932. Thailand is the one of the oldest friends of US in Asia that has provided support in the Korean and Vietnam wars.