BANGKOK — Russia’s foreign minister held talks Thursday with Thailand’s top officials on counterterrorism, cybersecurity and North Korea.
The visit by Sergey Lavrov came just two days after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to Bangkok. Both officials took part in meetings in the Philippines with counterparts from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations — or ASEAN — that focused heavily on North Korea’s push to advance its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Lavrov said after discussion with Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai that they agreed the United Nations should be the vehicle for a peaceful resolution of tensions over North Korea, which has been trading threats of war with the United States.
Lavrov did not directly comment on Pyongyang’s threat to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam during a press briefing where no questions were taken.
In his delivered remarks, he said he raised the issue of cybersecurity and was informed that Thailand is stepping up efforts on that front.
“Our friend has informed me that according to the initiative of the prime minister, they want to open here in Thailand a center for cybersecurity under the aegis of ASEAN,” Lavrov said.
He later paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, head of Thailand’s military government, and was scheduled to sign a condolence book for Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in October last year.
Lavrov described Thailand as Russia’s “oldest Southeast Asian ally,” apparently referring to visits exchanged in the 1890s by the two countries’ respective monarchs, when Russia was ruled by a czar.