China to take part in Cobra Gold exercise for first time
China, embroiled in territorial disputes with various Asian countries, will for the first time this week take part in Cobra Gold, Asia's biggest military exercise involving 8,000 troops from the United States and six other countries in the region.
Beijing will send 17 soldiers to help build a temple school in northern Thailand in the humanitarian and civic portion of the annual war games led by the US and Thailand.
The primary participants in the exercise, which starts on Tuesday and ends on Feb 21, are the US, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan. Several other countries like Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam will send observers.
China was an observer last year, but requested for increased participation this year, said First Lieutenant Clay Groover, a spokesman for the exercise.