BANGKOK --- Thailand's cabinet on Tuesday approved the $258-million purchase of eight T-50 advanced jets from South Korea, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said, the latest defence acquisition by a military government that took power following a 2014 coup.
The military government has increased the defence budget every year since, although most recent defence purchases have been Chinese, including a controversial deal for three submarines that provoked questions over its transparency.
Thailand's defence ministry has stressed that it was not buying exclusively from China and is still making purchases from other countries, including the United States, an old ally.
The cabinet approved the purchase of eight further jets in the second phase of a 2015 deal in which Thailand bought four jets from South Korea, Prayuth told reporters in Bangkok.
"We got the South Korean ones," Prayuth added. "You can see that we are not tied to one particular country."
On Monday, the army said the deal was worth 8.8 billion baht ($258 million). (end of excerpt)
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