"Martial law, the declaration of that is allowed for in the Thai constitution. We are certainly closely watching what's happening on the ground. We will continue to make evaluations of what's happening," State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said.
    
"The army has stated publicly that it would be a temporary action. We expect them to abide by their commitment that this is a temporary action to prevent violence and that they will respect democratic institutions," she said.

US has remained in constant touch with the military since the imposition of martial law and are continuing with pre-scheduled meetings.
    
"We continue to urge the government to refrain from violence and respect human rights as well. I think our key focus here is encouraging calm, encouraging protection of civil liberties and freedom of speech and freedom of media and support for upcoming elections," the spokesman said.
    
The Pentagon said it is closely monitoring the situation in Thailand and hoped the army would stand by its word.
    
"We are watching the situation very closely. We expect that the Thai Army will be true to its word when it says that this is not a coup and this is just a temporary injunction. It is important for everybody to respect the democratic principles there and to refrain from violence and further damage in Thailand," Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters.
    
During a Congressional hearing, Daniel Russel, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told lawmakers that the US is deeply concerned and troubled at the political crisis in an important democracy in Asia.
    
"The army has indicated that this is not a coup, that this is a temporary imposition of martial law to prevent the growing threat of bloodshed and violence and it will be in place for a finite period of time," he said.
    
"We have called on the Thai military to exercise full regard both for the democratic process and democratic institutions, but also for important freedoms, including freedom of speech and freedom of the press." Russell said.

(Agencies)

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