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    Pacific Military Exercises Resumes at Pre-Pandemic Size

    Pacific Military Exercises Resumes at Pre-Pandemic Size

    BANGKOK — Thai and U.S. officials officially opened annual Cobra Gold multinational exercises on Tuesday, now restored to one of the world's largest following three years of sharp pandemic cutbacks, reinforcing the security alliances of the United States and six Asian .

    Singapore, Japan, , South Korea and Malaysia are full participants in the two-week planning and field exercises, which are co-hosted by the Royal Thai Armed Forces and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

    More than 3,800 U.S. troops and 3,000 Thai personnel will participate. But this year's full-scale return comes as relations between the co-hosts have come under long-term strain. Thailand is a traditional ally of the United States but has built increasingly closer security ties with China. There has also been resentment in the Thai military and government over U.S. criticism of military coups that ousted elected governments in 2006 and 2014.

    Twenty-three other countries are joining as exercise partners or observers for a total of 7,394 personnel participating in a variety of security and humanitarian drills.

    “Today, Cobra Gold is an exercise focused on the future. It brings together 30 countries from around the world to solve complex challenges that no single country can solve alone,” U.S Ambassador to Thailand Robert F. Godec said at the opening ceremony at a Thai navy in the eastern province of Rayong. “Only through…

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