Thais mourn death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej


Hundreds of tearful Thais on Thursday were continuing to offer flowers and chant prayers for King Bhumibol Adulyadej outside the Bangkok hospital where the world's longest-reigning monarch is being treated for multiple health problems.

She remarked that the Philippines' good relations with Thailand, started when diplomatic relations were established between the two countries in 1949, and these relations have lasted nearly as long as King Bhumibol's reign, which started in 1946. In a televised address to the nation, Prayut Chan-ocha said Thailand would hold a one-year mourning period and that all entertainment functions must be "toned down" for a month.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia is deeply saddened by the king's death.

Pornchai Kittiwongsakul Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, pictured in May 2010.

China is willing to work with Thailand to build on past achievements and make new progress in the bilateral relations, to consolidate the good neighborliness, and to deepen their mutually beneficial cooperation, so as to benefit the two countries and two peoples, Xi said.

The National Legislative Assembly observed nine minutes of silence last night in a specially convened session to mourn the King's passing.

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, 64, is the king's named successor, but has made a surprise request to delay formally becoming the next king, according to the junta leader who appealed for citizens to accept the decision and "not cause chaos".

In Bangkok, residents began lining the streets where the king's body was expected to pass Friday afternoon in a royal procession from Siriraj hospital to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaew, which is located on the grounds of the ornate Grand Palace.

Backed by an intense palace-driven personality cult, he is revered as a demigod by many, seen as rising above the din of the kingdom's notoriously fractious political scene. He remained publicly detached from recent political upheavals, including the 2014 coup that brought Prayuth, an army general, to power.

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French President Francois Hollande hailed the king for "exceptional human qualities. his profound sense of justice, his care for modernity and sustainable development".

The king stepped in to calm crises on several occasions during his reign and many Thais worry about a future without him.

Thailand's strict lese-majeste laws have left little room for public discussion about the succession.

President Barack Obama praised the monarch as a "close friend" and partner of the United States.

The longest reign of any monarch of a large country in European history belongs to Louis XIV of France - who was also known as Louis the Great, or the Sun King.

Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said for the next 30 days all TV and radio stations, including online media, will broadcast the same programs provided by a government-controlled pool.

The palace's announcement that the king was gravely ill sent shudders through the stock market and pushed the baht currency to a two-month low earlier this week.

Thailand is unlikely to face major economic disruption after the death of the king, some risk analysts and diplomats said.