Military may sit out 39th Cobra Gold exercisesThe Korean military has been reconsidering whether to participate in an upcoming multinational military exercise in Thailand as the new coronavirus continues to spread, officials said Sunday.
The 39th Cobra Gold exercise, co-sponsored by the Thai and U.S. armed forces, is scheduled to be held from Feb. 26 through March 6. The annual exercise is expected to be joined by more than two dozen countries, including Japan, Singapore and Indonesia. Last year, China and India also participated in civic action parts of the exercise.
Initially, the Korean Navy and the Marine Corps planned to send about 400 service personnel as well as eight assault amphibious vehicles, and a naval ship carrying them is supposed to leave for the Southeast Asian country on Saturday. “But we have been reviewing an option of either skipping the exercise or sending fewer soldiers or weapons,” a military official said, adding that the authorities have been closely monitoring developments regarding the new coronavirus. Launched in 1982, Cobra Gold is the largest international military exercise held in the Asia-Pacific region. Korea began to attend it in 2010.