Amphibious landing during Cobra Gold exercise (photo : clker)
Thai Military Drill to Include S. Korean Troops Next MonthAn annual joint military exercise that has expanded from the original Thailand and the United States to include Japan, Indonesia and Singapore will also welcome troops from South Korea to this year's war game from Feb. 1-11 in various parts of Thailand, the South Korean military attache said in Bangkok.
At a press conference announcing the exercise plan, Col. Cho Jeong Ku said that by fully taking part in the regional exercise, South Korea will enhance its role toward regional stability.
Seoul will dispatch 411 troops along with a number of amphibious assault vehicles to the exercise known as "Cobra Gold" that has been held since 1982 in Thailand.
The war game was promoted to a multilateral exercise in 2000 when Singapore first joined.
The joint exercise of combined forces is said to be the biggest in Southeast Asia.
The United States will send more than 6,400 armed forces from Hawaii to join 4,635 Thai armed forces, 137 Singaporeans, 98 Indonesians, 80 Japanese and the 411 South Koreans.
Malaysia has shown interest in upgrading from its observer status in the annual war game to full participation.
Gen. Rachakrit Kanchanawat, the Thai army chief of staff, said Thailand and the United States, the co-hosts of the exercise, had agreed to up to 10 countries joining Cobra Gold.
He also indicated Malaysia's application could be considered soon.
This year's exercise will include not only field training, but also a computer-simulated command post exercises and humanitarian and civic assistance projects.
U.N. staff will also participate in the field training designed around a United Nations' multinational peace support scenario.
This year, South Africa and Chile will, for the first time, send observers to Cobra Gold. China, Brunei, Laos, Vietnam, New Zealand and Germany also send observers to the exercise.
The United Arab Emirates has not yet confirmed it will send observers this year, but Mongolia has informed the Thai side it will not be sending observers this year.
Ten other countries, including Australia,France, Britain, Bangladesh, India, Cambodia and the Philippines, will send two to three personnel to participate in various roles during the multinational planning exercises.