Thailand is hosting the annual multi-national military training event - Cobra Gold from February 9 to 20, with a focus on humanitarian aid and disaster mitigation.

The event this year drew the participation of troops from the United States, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia and Singapore, while India joined for the first time and China will participate in humanitarian exercises.

The United States sent 3,600 troops for this year’s exercise, down 1,000 from last year as the US-Thailand ties are in a difficult period following the military coup in Thailand last May.

Japanese news agency Kyodo quoted US charge d'affaires Patrick Murphy as saying at the opening ceremony in Nakhon Nayok Province that this period is a challenging one for “us all”, and has necessitated a modified Cobra Gold exercise this year as Thailand manages its return to elected, civilian-led government.-VNA