Channel NewsAsia

Australia reduces engagement with Thai military

Australia is reducing its interaction with Thailand's military, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Saturday, adding three planned activities had been postponed due to the coup.

SYDNEY: Australia is reducing its interaction with Thailand's military, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Saturday, adding three planned activities had been postponed due to the coup.

Thailand's military seized power on May 22 and on Friday ruled out elections for at least a year to allow time for political "reforms", despite international alarm.

"The Australian government continues to have grave concerns about the actions of the military in Thailand," Bishop said in a statement with Defence Minister David Johnston.

"In line with our concerns, Australia is reducing our engagement with the Thai military and will lower the level of our interaction with the Thai military leadership."

The ministers said Australia had postponed three activities planned for coming weeks in Thailand -- a military operations law training course for Thai officers, and two reconnaissance visits; including one for a counter terrorism training exercise.

"We will continue to review defence and other bilateral activities," they said.

Canberra has also put in place a mechanism to prevent the leaders of the coup from travelling to Australia.

Australia has called on the Thai military to establish a plan to return to democracy and the rule of law as soon as possible, to refrain from arbitrary detentions and release those detained for political reasons.

Following the coup, the United States cancelled an ongoing military exercise with Thailand and planned visits by officials.

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