World Bulletin / News Desk
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson landed in Bangkok on Tuesday with a plea to the kingdom to curb business ties with North Korea, as Washington rounds up allies for its bid to halt Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.
Thailand is one of a raft of Southeast Asian countries that hosts a North Korean embassy and enjoys valuable bilateral trade with the reclusive regime.
In 2014 the two countries shared trade worth $126 million, according to Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, nearly a three-fold increase since 2009.
America's top diplomat will press Thailand to crack down on North Korean firms that open fronts in Bangkok and use the capital as a trading hub, said acting US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs Susan Thornton.
He will also lean on the kingdom to tighten visa requirements for North Koreans entering Thailand and squeeze its diplomatic mission, Thornton added.
Tillerson's one-day visit follows a regional forum in Manila, where the former ExxonMobil CEO hailed a tough new UN sanctions regime on North Korea over its growing nuclear arsenal.
Those sanctions could cost North Korea $1 billion a year.
They were levied -- with the agreement of North Korean lifeline China -- in response to the launch of two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month.