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Special> Video> Latest
UPDATED: February 20, 2014
China Takes Part in Asia's Largest Military Drill


For the first time, China is taking part in Asia's largest military exercise. The annual drill, "Cobra Gold", will involve more than 9,000 troops from the U.S. and six other countries from the region. They will participate in military, humanitarian and civic activities in various parts of Thailand until February 21.

When the 33rd "Cobra Gold" multinational military exercise is over in a few days time, more than 50 families of Wat Ta Takien School in Thailand's province of Phitsanulok would be extremely happy. They will have a new one-storey multipurpose building for their children. It will be the outcome of four-week joint effort of Chinese, U.S. and Thai soldiers as part of engineering civic assistance projects under this year's exercise.

"There are no boundaries between the nations participating in this military exercise in terms of providing assistance to civilians. Having different nations work together gives us a chance to get to know each other and gain more knowledge," said Yang Bin of the People's Liberation Army.

For the local Thais, this would be the most tangible result of the region's largest military exercise.

China has been an observer in "Cobra Gold" since 2002 but has never taken part in the exercises until now. Although the role of the Chinese troops is limited to humanitarian drills, including providing engineering support and medical aid, many believe that their participation will boost military relations between China and ASEAN.

"In terms of cooperation between the military of the super powers, the U.S. and China, the operating personnel have developed good relationships with each other," said Col. Charnchai Romyen of Royal Thai Army. "With eight countries participating, the exercise will increase regional security, which I think is a great start."

Over the past three decades, "Cobra Gold" has evolved to include disaster relief and rescue operations.

While the ravages of tsunamis, earthquakes and floods have focused much of "Cobra Gold" on practicing humanitarian assistance efforts in recent years, simulated precision strikes and live fire exercises are a reminder of what militaries have always been designed to do. And this may see China's participation in the coming years ahead go through a transformation process to deeper and more challenging roles.

(CNTV.cn February 19, 2014)


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