Thailand: Background and U.S. Relations
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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U.S.-Thailand relations are of interest to Congress because of Thailands status as a long-time military ally and a significant trade and economic partner. However, ties have been complicated by deep political and economic instability in the wake of the September 2006 coup that displaced Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. After December 2007 parliamentary elections returned many of Thaksins supporters to power, the U.S. government lifted the restrictions on aid imposed after the coup and worked to restore bilateral ties. Meanwhile, street demonstrations rocked Bangkok and two prime ministers were forced to step down because of court decisions. A new coalition headed by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva assumed power in December 2008. Bangkok temporarily stabilized, but again erupted into open conflict between the security forces and antigovernment protestors in March 2010. By May, the conflict escalated into the worst violence in Bangkok in decades. With the capital gripped by violence and uncertainty, many questions remain on how U.S. relations will fare as Bangkok seeks some degree of stability.
- Government and Political Science