Junta-ruled Thailand flirts with Russia as US ties cool

February 20, 2016 13:10

BANGKOK - Thailand is pursuing closer ties - and possible arms deals - with Russia, with relations between Thailand and its traditional partner, the United States, cooling in the wake of a May 2014 coup.

Two Thai deputy prime ministers will travel to Russia, just weeks after a visit to Bangkok by the powerful head of Russia's security council, Nikolai Patrushev.

On the table, officials from both countries say, are wide-ranging talks on trade and security cooperation, as Russia seeks to develop its position as an Asian power.

Most attention has been focused on Thailand's warming ties with China, including talks on a massive rail project and the possible purchase of $1 billion worth of Chinese-made submarines.

But Russia appears keen to compete for Thailand's attention.

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