Thai leader emphasises equal distance from Japan, China

Thai leader emphasises equal distance from Japan, China
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha (L) and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands before their meeting at Abe's official residence in Tokyo February 9, 2015.

TOKYO - Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Monday stressed that Thailand seeks equal diplomatic relationships with Japan and China, dismissing concerns that Beijing is quickly cozying up to the junta.

Speaking with The Nikkei, Prayuth said his current trip was aimed at "encouraging greater economic cooperation and investment in Thailand." He added that he hoped to pass Bangkok's special relationship with Tokyo to a democratic government. The military junta is planning a general election as early as the end of the year, which would return ruling power to a civilian government.

Japan is responsible for 60 per cent of total direct foreign investment in Thailand, making it the biggest spender there. China is also angling for stronger ties with the provisional government through investment promises, among other offers.

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