Tillerson visits Thailand to firm up bilateral relations

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on a one-day official visit to Thailand, seeking to stabilize relations that soured after the Southeast Asian nation's military seized power from an elected civilian government three years ago.

Tillerson flew in Tuesday morning from the Philippines, where he met with his counterparts from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations at an annual regional gathering.

Thailand has long been one of Washington's closest regional allies, but relations have been strained over U.S. criticism of Thailand's military government for its repression of critics and failure to restore democracy.

Thailand, like other Southeast Asian countries, has also been cultivating closer ties with China, causing consternation in Washington.

President Donald Trump's administration has made human rights less of a priority than did its predecessors.