ROK to join Cobra Gold exercise in Thailand for first time

Updated: 2010-01-11 19:54
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BANGKOK: The Republic of Korea (ROK) will participate in the Cobra Gold 2010 Joint Exercise, the largest in Southeast Asia, for the first time, a senior Thai army officer said Monday.

Cobra Gold is a joint and coalition multi-national exercise held by Thailand on a regular basis. This year is the latest in a continuing series of exercise aimed at promoting regional peace and security. This exercise marks the 29th anniversary of this regionally significant training event.

A total of 14,000 soldiers from six countries, including Thailand, the United States, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and ROK, will join the exercise, which is scheduled on February 1-11 in central Thailand and representatives from other ten observer countries will also be present at the drill, General Ratchakrit Kanchanawat, Thai Armed Forces Chief of Joint Staff, told a press conference.

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The general said that the reason of picking up ROK is that the country has been an observer of the exercise for a while and it will provide some advanced military equipment in the exercise, which will benefit other participating countries.

Malaysia also showed interest in joining the drill, a senior Thai officer who was at the press conference said.

There are four main warships to join the exercise, including a helicopter assault ship, a destroyer and various airplanes, such as F/A-18 Super Hornets, CH-47 Chinook helicopters, Black Hawk helicopters, General Ratchakrit said.

Meanwhile, Eric G. John, US Ambassador to Thailand, welcomed ROK's participation in the exercise, saying that the exercise is the largest of its kind in the Pacific region which expands from a bilateral one to a multilateral one.

"Cobra Gold this year will be especially distinctive as the Republic of Korea will join the exercise for the first time as a full participating member," he said. "The evolution of Cobra Gold over the years highlights Thailand's willingness to co-host the event and to open it to so many countries, both as participants and as observers."

Training will consist of a computer-simulated command post exercise (CPX), field training exercise linked to the CPX, and humanitarian and civic assistance projects. The training aims to improve Pacific Command's ability to conduct joint and multi- national operations and increasing multi-national forces interoperability, according to a press release from the US embassy in Bangkok.