» 02/11/2014, 00.00
For first time, Chinese troops take part in Asia-US military exercises
The Cobra Gold Drills are held in Thailand, with ASEAN, Japanese and South Korean troops. The soldiers have to kill cobras and drink their blood. Observers include Russia, Pakistan and Vietnam. Beijing troops only part of exercises related to emergencies. China is also invited to maritime exercises in the Pacific Ocean.
Bangkok ( AsiaNews / Agencies) -
For the first time ever, China is taking part in the largest military exercise
in Asia, supported by the United States: a small signal of détente in a tension
The Chinese soldiers, 17, from
the Guangzhou command are participating in the Cobra Gold Drills which are
taking place in Thailand. They
are led by the United States and Thailand and include 9 thousand U.S. troops, 4
thousand Thai ; 80 from Singspore, 120 from Japan, 300 from South Korea, 160 from
Indonesia and 120 from Malaysia. Another
11 nations, including Russia, Britain, Pakistan and Vietnam are invited as
The Chinese will simply
participate in emergency drills related to the distribution of humanitarian
aid, medical aid and reconstruction. More
generally, the Cobra Gold Drills include land, sea and sky maneuvers, as well
as mock battles. The
Cobra Gold Drills, which began in '82, are famous because among other things
the soldiers are required to capture and kill cobras in the jungle, and to
drink their blood (see photo).
The Thai general Tharnchaiyant
Srisuwan told the Bangkok Post that "China's participation ... is a
positive sign that could dampen suspicions... on the role of American troops in
the region ... It is also a way to improve military relations between
China and ASEAN".
Beijing has long been suspicious
about the U.S. presence in the China Sea, seeing it as an attempt to contain
Chinese expansion. At
the same time, Beijing has tense relations with some countries of ASEAN over
the sovereignty of the Spratly and Paracel islands, while China contends the sovereignty
over the Senkaku / Diaoyu islands with Japan.
The military exercises will
conclude on February 23.
the first time, this year China will also participate in maritime military
exercises in the Pacific. These are also led by the
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