US Envoy Calms Fears Over State Department Re-Haul

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shakes hands

"Thailand are friends with both the USA and North Korea".

Gen Prayut is tipped to visit the United States in October, but Mr Don said it is not yet confirmed.

Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai indicated to reporters that he and Tillerson had discussed Washington's efforts to ensure that pressure was maintained on North Korea to drop its nuclear weapons program.

The comments come after new reports that the State Department is in turmoil, including one recently reported resignation, under the tenure of Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTillerson avoids contact with North Korean envoy Top Russian official: US, Moscow ready to have further dialogue following sanctions Tillerson, Russian foreign minister meet in Manila: Interfax MORE.

The United States was encouraging Thailand to take as many North Korean refugees as it can handle, Thornton said.

A spokeswoman for the State Department's East Asia Bureau said Mr Tillerson, who will be the most senior U.S. official to visit Thailand since a 2014 coup, will discuss a broad range of issues including security, trade and investment.

Up to 94% of trade volume between Thailand and North Korea has been cut from previous year, Don said.

Thailand, like other Southeast Asian countries, has also been cultivating closer ties with China, causing consternation in Washington.

He is the highest-ranking United States official to visit Thailand since Gen Prayut lead a bloodless coup in May 2014 that overthrew the country's elected government. Thailand allegedly has been used as a springboard for third parties to launch major cyber-attacks, reportedly including the 2014 hack of film studio Sony Pictures.

Tillerson's discussions with Don followed from a regional meeting held in Manila from Saturday to Monday, where the USA official rallied support from the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to pressure North Korea into dropping its nuclear weapon programme.

Thailand is the US's oldest ally in Asia, with diplomatic relations dating back 184 years. The trip initially was expected in late July, but no date has been set yet.

After being put on the USA list, Thailand defended itself with a 22-page justification that covered everything from its support for the United States in the Korean War to investment by U.S. companies in Thailand.

Rights groups had called for Tillerson to raise issues of human rights abuse committed by the Thai junta. He added that the issue of human rights was not specifically broached during talks.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seems to have found a bit of common ground with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, a man remembered infamously for his obscene insults of previous American leaders.

Tillerson arrived here Tuesday after attending a series of ASEAN and related foreign ministers' meetings in the Philippines.

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