South Korea to send troops to Cobra Gold training in Thailand

The South Korean troops also plan to conduct humanitarian operations as part of "military diplomacy" activities.

SEOUL - Hundreds of South Korean troops will be deployed to Thailand this month for an annual international exercise, the Navy here said on Friday (Feb 2).

A combat unit of more than 430 sailors and Marines will leave for the Southeast Asian nation later in the day to join the Cobra Gold drills slated for Feb 13-23, it said. The soldiers are scheduled to arrive there on Saturday on the 4,900-ton Cheonjaebong landing ship, Yonhap news agency reported.

Cobra Gold is an Asia-Pacific military exercise co-organised by the US and Thai militaries with a focus on multinational peacekeeping operations.

It was launched in 1981, and South Korea began formally participating in it in 2010.

The upcoming training is drawing six warships, 34 amphibious armored vehicles and 86 aircraft from nine countries - South Korea, the US, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, China and India.

It will involve around 10,700 troops, with Britain, Australia, France and seven other countries observing the programme.

It will consist of three main parts - the command post exercise, the humanitarian civil assistance and the field training exercise.

According to Yonhap, the South Korean troops also plan to conduct humanitarian operations as part of "military diplomacy" activities, the Navy added.

"The Navy and the Marine Corps have teamed up with each other so far to take part in the Cobra Gold exercise," said Lee Kwang Ho, commander of an amphibious unit.

"On the basis of the tradition, we will contribute to regional stability and international peace by strengthening combined operation capabilities."

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