Monday, February 23, 2015

US-Thailand Commence Annual Cobra Gold Despite Differences

licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Though the United States sanctioned Thailand in 2014 for its ongoing coup, both countries still hosted the annual Cobra Gold joint military exercises, reports the Bangkok Post.

There had been speculation that the U.S. might cancel the Cobra Gold this year which has been conducted in Thailand for nearly thirty years. 

One expert on Asian security issues, Ian Storey, told the Bangkok Post that cancelling the Cobra Gold wouldn't have been in Washington’s best interests as it could have “created an opportunity for Beijing to strengthen its strategic ties to Bangkok.”
Washington did scale back the number of troops it sent this year, from 4,300 to 3,600, and “refocused” the drills this year on humanitarian civic-action training and non-combatant evacuation drills.

“Cobra Gold is a symbol of long-standing and continuous military cooperation,” said General Wuttinun Leelayudth, Thailand's deputy Supreme Commander, to this year’s attendees. “The training shows transparency in terms of these relationships.”

Read the full story here and here.

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