1. ITV Report

Thailand's king calls for unity in first New Year address

King Maha Vajiralongkorn took office on December 1 Credit: AP

Thailand's new king has called for unity in his first New Year's address since taking over from his late farther.

The pre-recorded speech is only the second time King Maha Vajiralongkorn has addressed the public since taking office on December 1 and he has yet to command the same kind of popularity as his late father.

"No matter what problems we may face in our country, we believe that if we work together we can overcome and alleviate any situation," Vajiralongkorn said.

He thanked the public for their show of loyalty towards his father, who died in October having ruled for seven decades.

The late king is still widely mourned in Thailand and the usual New Year firework displays in Bangkok have been cancelled out of respect for the mourning period.

The king is widely seen as a unifying force in Thailand and Vajiralongkorn will put that to the test in the first few weeks of 2017 when he is expected to endorse a constitution drafted by the military government to start the process of restoring democracy to the country.