Bangkok – British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met the leaders of the Thai junta on Monday as part of a four-day tour to Asia.
In his first ever visit to Thailand, Johnson met Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai to discuss bilateral cooperation in financial technology, aerospace and cyber security, said government spokesman Werachon Sukondhapatipak.
Resume ties with Thailand
Johnson’s visit came two months after the European Union announced its decision to resume ties with Thailand following a period of suspended relations in response to a 2014 coup.
Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano visited Thailand last week, while French foreign affairs official Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne also arrived in Bangkok on Monday.
Focus onto Asia
Political analysts also see Johnson’s visit as part of efforts to diversify Britain’s trade focus onto Asia after its 2016 vote to leave the EU.
“Britain has moved quickly to resume senior ministerial engagement with Thailand, following the EU’s decision to restore full political relations last December,” said Nigel Gould-Davies, an International Relations professor at Mahidol University near Bangkok.
“This reflects the aspiration to develop a Global Britain agenda after Brexit,” Gould-Davies added.
Before his trip to Bangkok, Johnson met Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Daw on Sunday to discuss the Rohingya refugee crisis.