|Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha accepts Trump invite. – AFP/VNA Photo|Viet Nam News
BANGKOK –– Thailand’s government head has accepted an invitation to visit the White House from President Donald Trump, his spokesman said on 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 Southeast 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.
"The Prime Minister thanked and accepted President Trump’s invitation to visit the United States," government 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.
Many Southeast Asian nations have looked to the Trump administration with some trepidation.
He has shown little appetite for his predecessor’s Asia "pivot" and he swiftly scrapped the TPP trade deal after taking office.
Trump is due to visit two regional summits -- in Vietnam and the Philippines -- towards the end of the year.
The Thai government statement was light on specifics but said Trump "had confidence in the Thai government" and that the two countries were ready to "enhance bilateral co-operation in all dimensions". –– AFP