Chinese army will join Cobra Gold exercise for the first time in February

The Chinese People’s Army will join the Cobra Gold military exercise in Thailand for the first time starting on February 9 but will focus on disaster relief and people’s support exercises.

An informed source in the Thai Supreme Command said Sunday that the Chinese participation in Cobra Gold this year was similar in nature with the non-military exercises of troops from South Korea and Japan.

The same source disclosed that, in fact, Thai and Chinese troops had staged several joint military exercises for instances the joint exercises between special forces, marine and air forces of the two countries.  However, the source said that the Thai military wanted the joint exercises to proceed gradually because there is still a language barrier which is yet to be tackled.

Prior to the start of the Cobra Gold exercise, Chinese defence minister will visit Thailand on February 6-8 during which he will discuss with Thai Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan on joint cooperation in the development of armaments such as multi-tube missiles.

This year’s Cobra Gold exercise will be low key and focus on command post exercises rather than field exercises.  About 10,000 troops from 20 nations will join this year’s exercise, including 5,000 from the US, 4,000 troops from Thailand.  The exercise will be conducted in Lop Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Chon Buri, Rayong and Chanthaburi provinces and it will last about two weeks.