The chief commander of the US Army Pacific, General Robert B. Brown, walks with his Thai counterpart, General Chalermchai Sittisart (R) during his visit to Thailand at the Royal Thai Army headquarters in Bangkok on June 5, 2017. (Photo: REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom)

Bangkok (VNA) – General Robert Brown, head of the US Army Pacific, met with General Chalermchai Sitthisart, commander of the Royal Thai Army, in Bangkok on June 5.

This was a rare top-level meeting between the two militaries since the United States criticised a Thai military coup in 2014.

The United States and Thailand have had a relationship since 1833. The two countries have exchanged ideas on military cooperation, the Thai army said in a statement.

The visit to Thailand by General Robert Brown, who is also director of the US Missile Defence Agency in Seoul, comes as the United States looks to reassure allies about its commitment to the region.

Earlier, at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, US Secretary of Defence James Mattis affirmed that Washington remains committed to its Asia-Pacific allies.

Thailand is the US’s oldest ally in the region, but ties were strained by the 2014 military coup led by then-army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha that ousted an elected civilian government.

The United States scaled back some military exchanges with Thailand, which responded by forging closer ties with China.

However, the United States and Thailand have maintained joint military exercises including the annual Cobra Gold, Asia's largest multinational drill.

Experts said the US now wants to reaffirm its security influence in the Southeast Asian region.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha will visit the US in July at the invitation of President Donald Trump.-VNA