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PLA joins US-Thailand Cobra Gold military exercises

02-14-2014 03:02 BJT

An annual joint military exercise, called Cobra Gold, has begun in Thailand. Various countries take part in the US-Thai-led drills. And this year, for the first time, they’ve been joined by China. Analysts say China’s involvement suggests Beijing and Washington want to collaborate more closely on security issues in the Asia-Pacific region.

A breakthrough for the PLA.

China has joined Asia’s largest multinational military exercises for the first time. Seventeen soldiers, mainly from the Guangzhou Military Area Command, have been sent to the annual Cobra Gold drills led by the United States and Thailand, which started on Tuesday in the Southeast Asian nation. All parties have welcomed China’s involvement.

China was invited by the US to join the drill. The role of the Chinese troops is limited to humanitarian relief drills, including engineering support and medical aid. The Thai officer in charge of planning says China’s participation can help strengthen communication, contributing to long-term stability of the region.

"We can use the Cobra Gold as a bridge to expand cooperation. This can strengthen the understanding and communication among different militaries." Captain Nuttapong Ketsumboon with Royal Thai Navy said.

The Cobra Gold drills started in 1982 and have developed into the largest multinational military exercises in the Asia-Pacific region. China has been an observer since 2002 but has never been invited to take part before. The military exercises include land, air and sea and live-fire drills. This year, they started in the northern province of Phitsanulok and will last until February 21.

Editor:James |Source: CCTV.com

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