World News Brief, Thursday May 20

Thai military storms protesters encampment, sparks violent response; Taliban in "audacious" attack on Bagram airfield; Security Council members not impressed with Iran, push on with sanctions; South Korea accuses North Korea of sinking warship; and more

Top of the Agenda: Thai Troops Storm Protest Area

Thai army troops stormed the encampment (NYT) of antigovernment protesters in central Bangkok in a push to end demonstrations that have lasted six weeks. Protest leaders surrendered and pleaded with angry protesters to stand down. Instead, protesters lashed out, setting areas on fire and attacking banks, a movie theater, and the stock exchange. Thai media reported that thousands of protesters attacked the city halls in two provincial capitals in the country's northeast rice-growing areas. The military took control of key roads and opened fire on protesters running for cover. Military trucks with loudspeakers urged protesters to leave the area.

Thailand's standing as a major investment destination is under threat (WSJ) because of the violence and disruption to the country's economy.


The crisis in Thailand has gotten so grave that it verges on civil war and threatens the democratic gains made over twenty years, the legacy of King Bhumibhol Adulyadej, and Thailand's tourism-dominated economy, writes CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick.

A Bangkok Post editorial says even if protesters are dispersed from the capital's central commercial area, it will be very difficult for the government to maintain peace and order, since more anti-government groups may rise up across the country.


PACIFIC RIM: Geithner to Push for US Business in China

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner plans to push for (WSJ) improved conditions for US firms doing business in China during high-level talks in Beijing next week.

In this podcast, the US Council for International Business' Jonathan Huneke says the Obama administration's efforts to promote trade have been insufficient.

South Korea: South Korea's foreign minister said it was “obvious” North Korea fired the torpedo that sank one of the south's warships in March, killing forty-six sailors. South Korean officials plan to present (AP) their findings about North Korea's involvement to the UN Security Council on Thursday.

CFR's Scott Snyder writes that South Korea's decision to internationalize its investigation of the Cheonan's sinking was effective, but it cast China as the enabler of North Korean provocations, which will have costs to China's interests on the Korean Peninsula.



UN Moves Forward on Iran Sanctions

Taliban Attacks Afghan NATO Base

Calderon, Obama to Tackle Drugs, Immigrants


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