US admiral stresses democracy at Thai war games

The most senior US officer to visit Thailand since a 2014 coup emphasized the importance of restoring democracy on Tuesday as he launched the annual Cobra Gold military exercise.
The United States scaled down its presence at Asia's largest annual multinational military exercise as one of the former US administration's steps to pressure the junta.
With ties improving even before President Donald Trump took office, activists had voiced concern that Washington would put less focus on democratic change in a region where it faces an increasingly forceful China.
"We look forward to Thailand's re-emergence as a flourishing democracy because we need Thailand to be a strong and stable partner," said Admiral Harry Harris, head of US Pacific Command, which covers about half the earth's surface.
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