SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Korea Bizwire) — Hundreds of South Korean troops will be deployed to Thailand this month for an annual international exercise, the Navy here said Friday.
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 Saturday on the 4,900-ton Cheonjaebong landing ship.
Cobra Gold is an Asia-Pacific military exercise co-organized by the U.S. 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 U.S., 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 program.
It’s composed of three main parts — the command post exercise, the humanitarian civil assistance and the field training exercise.
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 Cdr. 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.”