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e US is putting on a show of muscle in Asia this week at a time where China growths ever more powerful in the region. And the president Trump, the biggest US force in years has joined this annual military exercise nearly double the number of personnel to last year.
I am Panu Wongcha-um reporting for Reuters here from U-Tapao Air Base in Eastern Thailand at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Cobra Gold military exercise that is co-organized by Thailand and the United States. This year there are 29 nations taking part in this exercise and one of the key issues dominating the headline leading to the exercise is the role of Myanmar.
Originally, it was scheduled to take part as an observer but the last minute this was changed. This clearly shows that the US and Thailand does not want the exercise to be tarnished by the participants of Myanmar which are currently has its own problem concerning situation in Rakhine state.
The Cobra Gold military exercise have been going on for more than 30 years, and this is the largest US contingency since 2014 military coup in Thailand. Which signal a change of direction in US policy towards Thailand and also show that the US want to commit more to the Thai-American alliance to really strengthen their presence in this region against the rising of China.