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EU puts trade before principles over Thai army rule

Brussels' move to soften sanctions could set precedent for Asia

| Thailand

European Union foreign ministers have this month agreed to resume full political contacts with Thailand, ending restrictions imposed soon after the 2014 military coup which ousted the democratically-elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra.

This decision sends a signal to Bangkok -- and perhaps to other capitals in Southeast Asia -- that Brussels may adapt the way it implements its human rights and democracy principles. It may pay more attention to its interests, not least trade, especially when China and President Donald Trump's administration in the U.S. are taking an increasingly hard-nosed approach.

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