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Thailand strengthening military ties with China

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Chinese VT4 battle tank made by Norinco Group seen in a promotional video.

The Thai cabinet approved the purchase of 10 Chinese tanks worth 58 million dollars to replace an old US model, a government spokesman says.

This is the second of three planned purchases of 49 tanks from China. Thailand ordered 28 tanks from China last year.

“These tanks will replace the M41 tanks, which are small and old,” Sansern Kaewkamnerd told reporters on Tuesday.

Thailand has used the US M41 light tanks since World War II, said Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.

Relations have been strengthening between China and the United States’ oldest ally in Southeast Asia, particularly since ties with the United States cooled after a 2014 coup.

In January, the cabinet also approved 13.5 billion baht (380 million dollars) to buy a submarine from China and is considering buying three more.

Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has boasted of his new friendship with China as he has talked down the relationship with the United States, despite a longstanding territorial dispute with Beijing.

A US Navy aid unit has also been told to leave Cambodia, the US Embassy said, in a new sign of the country loosening links with Washington as it strengthens ties with Beijing.

(Source: Reuters)

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