Cobra Gold 2017 in Thailand (Source: Kyodo)
 
Hanoi (VNA) - One of the Asia-Pacific region's largest multinational military exercises, called "Cobra Gold," started in Thailand on February 13, involving more than 11,000 personnel from more than 29 countries.

The annual exercise, the 37th of its kind and co-hosted by Thailand and the US, aims to increase the ability of participating nations to work together to handle maritime security threats, natural disasters and epidemics.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, US Ambassador to Thailand Glyn Davies said the exercise will pave the way for greater international commitment to dealing with global challenges, adding that no country could address the 21st century challenges alone.

The US scaled down its presence and military support for Thailand after the May 2014 military coup, including for Cobra Gold. But this year's exercise has drawn 6,800 US military personnel, nearly double the number last year.

China, which joined the activity for the first time in 2014, sent 44 soldiers to take part in humanitarian assistance and disaster-relief drills.

The exercise is scheduled to last till February 23.-VNA