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S. Korea to join U.S.-led regional military drill in Thailand

All News 10:50 January 29, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korean combat forces will join a United States-led multinational military exercise to be held next month in Thailand, the Navy said Friday.

Some 440 Navy and Marine soldiers will depart for Thailand on Saturday to join the Cobra Gold exercise, which will run from Feb. 6 through 19.

It is an annual peacekeeping operation exercise, led by the U.S. Pacific Command and the Thailand military.

In this year's gathering, some 7,900 forces will take part from Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia beside the three countries, along with five warships, 24 armored vehicles and 35 airplanes.

China, Britain, Australia and 13 other countries will join as observers.

In 2002, South Korea joined the exercise, which was launched in 1982, as an observer before becoming a full-time member in 2010.

For this year's exercise, South Korea will send the 4,900-ton Cheon Wang Bong amphibious landing ship and eight combat tanks.

After arriving at the Sattahip port, the South Korean team will carry out drills in the fields of command post exercise, humanitarian civil assistance and field training exercise, all aimed at multinational training to resolve a conflict situation, according to the Navy.

"The Cobra Gold exercise is a joint humanitarian drill to get training on what the United Nations forces have done during the Korean War," a Navy official said. "The Navy and the Marine Corps will continue to improve our combat capabilities to prepare against various types of threats and protect our people and interests in any part of the world."

pbr@yna.co.kr
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