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Thai Gov't Won't Bail Out General Motors

Prime Minster said government will not provide funds to cash-strapped GM after it asked for help in paying for a new factory and expanded production in the country.

TOKYO (AP) -- Thai Prime Minster Abhisit Vejjajiva said Friday his government will not provide funds to struggling General Motors, the cash-strapped U.S. carmaker that asked for help in paying for a new factory and expanded production in the country.

"I appreciate the difficulties the industry is going through. But our plan at the moment is not to provide specific assistance to individual companies," he told reporters at a news conference in Tokyo.

Abhisit said Thailand would instead look to provide assistance in a "neutral and market-friendly way" through measures such as changing regulations where they impede business or by ensuring domestic customers have adequate financing.

He spoke during a three-day trip to Japan, which has included meetings with top businessmen and lawmakers. He was due to meet Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso later Friday.

On Thursday, General Motors Inc. said it would ask Thailand's Ministry of Industry and local banks to help fund expanded truck manufacturing and a new $445 million diesel factory in the country.

Since announcing the expanded production in Thailand, GM has run short of the cash required to run even its own operations and was forced to ask the U.S. government for billions in emergency funds.

During his trip to Tokyo -- one of Thailand's major trading partners -- Abhisit also sought to persuade Japan's political and industrial leaders that the country is again politically stable. Last year, Thailand was rocked by political upheaval, with protesters opposed to the previous government holding street demonstrations and occupying Bangkok's airports.

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