China flexes muscles in U.S.-led military exercises, 14,000 US and Asia-Pacific Troops

The U.S. is leading the largest multinational military exercise in the Asia-Pacific region, and Chinese media are hailing Beijing’s first-time participation in the annual drill as proof that the communist nation’s “regional military impact” cannot be ignored. Nearly 14,000 troops from the U.S. and Asia-Pacific countries are participating in Cobra Gold 2014, which opened Tuesday at Camp Akatosarot, about 230 miles north of Bangkok.  “Cobra Gold truly replicates the dynamic security environment we find ourselves in today, and what we will face in the future,” Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, said at the opening ceremony for the military exercise. About 9,000 U.S. troops are training alongside 4,000 from Thailand, 80 from Singapore, 120 from Japan, 300 from South Korea, 160 from Indonesia and 120 from Malaysia. Several other nations such as Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar are participating as observers in the 33rd annual drills. China has “observer-plus” status, as it is offering a “humanitarian civic assistance team” of 17 troops, the Army said. Chinese troops will not be included in Cobra Gold’s top-level maneuvers, which include live-fire drills, jungle survival training, amphibious landings and warplane flights.  More


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