Thai junta claims support from China, Vietnam amid Western unease
China and Vietnam have expressed support for Thailand's new military government, an army spokesman said on Wednesday, as pro-army supporters held a small gathering at the Australian Embassy in protest against downgrading of relations after last month's coup, Reuters reported.
Several foreign governments have voiced disapproval of the coup, which saw General Prayuth Chan-ocha take power after months of political unrest that undermined the government of Yingluck Shinawatra.
"China's and Vietnam's ambassadors to Thailand met Supreme Commander General Thanasak Patimaprakorn yesterday and assured us that they still have a good relationship with Thailand and that they hope the situation will return to normal quickly," Yongyuth Mayalarp, a spokesman for the military's National Council for Peace and Order, told reporters.
Myanmar's foreign affairs ministry said it recognised Thailand's new military rulers.
"Thailand is a sovereign state and the military government has been endorsed by their king," Aung Linn, a director-general at Myanmar's foreign affairs ministry, told Reuters on Wednesday.
"Of course we do recognise them."
China's foreign ministry had no immediate response to the report.
The United States scrapped joint military programmes with Thailand days after the May 22 coup while the European Union has urged the military to free political detainees and end censorship.
Australia downgraded its ties with Thailand on Saturday, imposed a travel ban on junta leaders and cut defence cooperation, the toughest measures taken by a foreign government since the change of regime.
A handful of pro-military demonstrators gathered outside the Australian Embassy on Wednesday to protest against what they see as foreign meddling in Thailand's internal affairs. Some handed roses to police guarding the embassy.
The coup was the latest convulsion in a decade-long conflict between the Bangkok-based royalist establishment, dominated by the military, old-money families and the bureaucracy, and supporters of Yingluck and her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who are adored by the poor in the north and northeast.