Thailand’s junta chief has accepted an invitation to visit the White House from President Donald Trump, his spokesman said Monday, the latest autocrat to be embraced by the US leader.
The offer came during a phone conversation on Sunday night, part of a flurry of calls Trump made to South-East Asian leaders over the weekend trying to shore up regional support over the troubled Korean peninsula.
On Sunday he extended a White House invitation to Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, whose brutal anti-drugs campaign has claimed thousands of lives and led to warnings from rights groups about possible crimes against humanity.
“The Prime Minister thanked and accepted President Trump’s invitation to visit the United States,” junta spokesman Major General Werachon Sukhonhapatipak said in a statement, adding that the offer to visit had been reciprocated by Bangkok.
Thailand’s former army chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha seized power three years ago, anointing himself prime minister and ushering in the kingdom’s most autocratic government in a generation.
The coup strained ties with the Barack Obama administration as the military jailed dissidents, banned protests and ramped up prosecutions under the kingdom’s draconian lese majeste law.