China joins US-led multinational military drills in Thailand

A Chinese military contingent is taking part in massive multinational military drills in Thailand.

The annual Cobra Gold exercises, co-sponsored by the United States and Thailand, started last month, with Japan's Self-Defense Forces and militaries from Southeast Asian countries and others participating.

On Friday, more than 20 personnel from the Chinese military participated in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises in eastern Thailand. They confirmed procedures for rescuing people from disaster-hit areas in cooperation with members from the US military and Japan's SDF.

The Chinese military has been taking part in the annual drills since 2014, but it refrained from joining them in person in recent years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

By inviting China to the drills, the US military apparently aims to build trust with its Chinese counterpart and avoid conflicts amid Beijing's increased influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

The question now is whether the drills will contribute to better communication between defense officials from the two countries.