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Turbulent Thailand

Thailand belittled again as U.S. ostracizes it from democracy summit

Quashing monarchy reform debate erodes free speech rights and democratic norms

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha might be exactly where he wants to be as the U.S. prepares to hold its big democracy summit. (Nikkei montage/AP/Reuters/Kosaku Mimura)

BANGKOK -- Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's administration is sensing disquiet in Washington as U.S. President Joe Biden shows a belittling diplomatic attitude toward the kingdom, most recently by ostracizing Thailand from the Summit for Democracy.

The two-day virtual summit kicks off on Thursday with over 100 countries, territories and regions -- including ASEAN members the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia -- on the invitation list. The White House says the event will "set forth an affirmative agenda for democratic renewal and to tackle the greatest threats faced by democracies today through collective action." It is widely seen as a forum to encourage invitees to ally more closely with the U.S. than with China.

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