North Korea to be ‘frozen out’ by Donald Trump in Thailand plan | World | News

The US President will welcome Prayuth Chan-ocha to the White House on Monday to put pressure on him over the country’s ties to Pyongyang.

And the US wants Thailand to take a diplomatic lead in the region in “freezing out” North Korea, which has an embassy in the country.

Washington will use the meeting to highlight continued business operations by North Korea in Thailand.

In a visit to the country last month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged the junta to shut down supplies of money to the sabre-rattling regime.

Last month, Thailand said trade between North Korea and Thailand had plummeted by up to 94 per cent this year.

But an investigation by news agency Reuters found many businesses appeared to still be trading with the regime.

The Bank of Thailand also has no policy to close down accounts owned by North Koreans in Thailand.

Tensions between the US and dictator Kim Jong-un have reached fever pitch in recent weeks after a series of missile strikes by the secretive state.

Pyongyang has accused Mr Trump of declaring war after he threatened to “totally destroy” the regime.

Alongside Bangkok’s ties with North Korea, Thailand’s trade surplus with the US and defence will also be discussed at the White House meeting.

Thailand will also discuss new defence purchase deals and finalise the delivery of four Black Hawk helicopters it agreed to buy from the US before the 2014 coup.

Washington had previously slammed the seizure of power by Prayuth, which ousted a civilian government led by Yingluck Shinawatra.

And human rights groups have criticised the President for his invitation, accusing him of bowing to authoritarian regimes despite concerns over human rights.

Mr Trump welcomed Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi earlier this year, drawing criticism from rights groups who say the leader has overseen a crackdown on activists.

The latest attempt to ratchet up pressure on the North came as the US said China was making progress in enforcing sanctions on Pyongyang.

But the US wants harsher measures, including secondary sanctions targeting Chinese banks and companies doing business with North Korea, and measures to bar oil imports.

Mr Trump ordered new sanctions against North Korea last week, including on its shipping and trade networks, showing he was giving more time for economic pressures to address the crisis after repeated warnings about possible military action.

On Thursday, South Korea said it expects more provocative acts by North Korea next month to coincide with the founding of its communist party.

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