Trump tells Thailand to buy more from US

United States President Donald Trump told Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha that Thailand should buy more American products to reduce the trade imbalance.

In remarks prior to their meeting at the White House on Monday (local time in Washington DC), Trump wasted no time in pressing for more sales of US goods to Thailand.

"I do want to say that our relationship on trade - and we've been negotiating very long and hard, and we're meeting with our representatives in a little while to go further. But our relationship on trade is becoming more and more important. And it [Thailand]'s a great country to trade with; they make products and different things that are really very important to us, and we likewise sell to you," Trump said.

"I think we're going to try and sell a little bit more to you now, make that a little bit better if that's possible. But we have a big, full period of time scheduled with our two staffs."

Meanwhile Prime Minister Prayut expressed his condolences to the victims and families of the shooting tragedy on Monday in Las Vegas, as well as to victims and families affected by the hurricanes that lashed US states and Puerto Rico.

Thai PM Prayut visits Trump at White House

  • Donald Trump welcomed Thai junta leader chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha to the White House on Monday.
  • Describing Prayut's visit as a "great honour," Trump offered a symbolic show of unity with Prayut.
  • "We've had a long and very storied history with Thailand," Trump said.
  • "We have a very strong relationship right now."
  • "And it's getting stronger in the last nine months."
  • Relations between Bangkok and Washington date back more than 180 years.
  • Prayut is the first Thai leader to visit the White House since 2005.
  • Trump issued the White House invitation after taking office last January.
  • Because of growing concern over Thailand's closer military relations with China.
  • US military officials are concerned about bumper Chinese weapons buys and losing access Thai military ports.
  • They also gripe that a generation of Thai generals who worked alongside US troops in Vietnam are now being replaced with younger, more Chinese-focused officials.
  • Prayut offered "solidarity with American people" after the massacre in Las Vegas and hurricane in Puerto Rico.

The Thai premier commended the contributions of first lady Melania Trump and Trump's daughter.

"I also would like to commend the first lady on playing such a vital role in looking after those who have less opportunity. Of course, your daughter also worked very closely in order to tackle the problem. I know that she has developed an interest to solve issues of women and children. Thailand stands ready to work closely with the first lady and with Mr President of course," Prayut told Trump via an interpreter.

Trump, however, dwelled a lot on his upcoming trip to Puerto Rico and the bloody massacre in Las Vegas.

"Tomorrow [Tuesday] morning, early, I'll be leaving for Puerto Rico with the First Lady. We are going to be seeing all of the first responders, the military, FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency], and, frankly, most importantly, we're going to be seeing the people of Puerto Rico.

"We've been very - I mean, I think we've been - it's been amazing what's been done in a very short period of time on Puerto Rico. There's never been a piece of land that we've known that was so devastated. The bridges are down, the telecommunications nonexistent, and it's in very, very bad shape. The electrical grid, as you know, was totally destroyed.

"But we've gotten tremendous amounts of food and water, and lots of other things - supplies - generally speaking, on the island. So, we're going to be going tomorrow morning, first thing, very early.

"We're also going to be meeting with Governor [Kenneth] Mapp of US Virgin Islands. He's going to probably, because of the difficulty in getting in to Virgin Islands, he's probably going to meet us in Puerto Rico."

"And then, very importantly also, on Wednesday morning, very early, we're going to be leaving for Las Vegas, where we're going to be seeing the governor, who I just spoke to; the mayor - governor of the state - the mayor of Las Vegas, who I just spoke to; the sheriff, who has done such a great job; the police department has done such a fantastic job in terms of the speed, and we all very much appreciate it.

"So, we'll be going to Puerto Rico tomorrow. And on Wednesday, we will be going to, as you know, as I just said, we'll be going to Las Vegas on a very, very sad -it's a very sad moment for me, for everybody. For everybody, no matter where you are, no matter what your thought process, this is a very, very sad day.

"So, we're going to be doing that on Wednesday. And we'll be spending the full day there, and maybe longer than that," he said.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai told accompanying reporters that Thailand is willing to buy some 50,000-60,000 tonnes of coal from the US.