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Obama to visit Thailand in November?

Today’s Bangkok Post says:

US President Barack Obama is expected to pay an official visit to Thailand in November during his trip to Bali to attend the East Asian Summit, government sources said.

Thailand extended an invitation for Mr Obama to visit the kingdom after he was inaugurated, which was about the same time that former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva took office.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been the highest-level Obama administration cabinet member to visit Thailand, in July 2009. President Obama telephoned Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Saturday to congratulate her on her election as the country’s first female prime minister, describing it as a sign of “success of the democratic process”.

On Twitter this morning, U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney wrote, seemingly in response to a question about Obama’s potential visit:

It is way to early to know. There are no definite plans at this point.

Elsewhere on Twitter, some have speculated about whether or not a potential Obama visit would affect the situation of Thai-born American citizen Joe Gordon.

As I mentioned in May, Gordon is being detained for allegedly insulting the Thai king.

As it happens, the AP reported yesterday that he has now been officially charged:

A lawyer says an American citizen has been formally charged with insulting Thailand’s monarchy, which carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

(Emphasis mine.)

By Newley

Hi. I'm Newley Purnell. I cover technology and business for The Wall Street Journal. I use this site to share my stories and often blog about the books I'm reading, tech trends, sports, travel, and our dog Ginger. For updates, get my weekly email newsletter.

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