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Korean troops to join U.S. peace-keeping exercise

Korean marine and naval troops are to participate in a multinational humanitarian exercise to take place from Feb. 7-18 in Thailand, officials said.

It is the second time for Korean troops to join the Cobra Gold exercise, which the U.S. Pacific Command and the Thai military command have annually organized to practice multinational peace-keeping operations since 1981.

The exercise, which will occur in various regions across the country, including Chiang Mai, Sattahip and Chantaburi, is aimed at addressing conflicts and restoring order and peace for an imaginary nation, named Arcadia.

This year, Korea will deploy around 40 marines and 10 naval soldiers for the exercise in which more than 10,000 troops from seven countries including Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia will take part.

Korea had participated in the exercise as an observer between 2002 and 2009. For last year’s exercise, it deployed one marine battalion, one landing ship tank and seven amphibious assault vehicles.

The operation will largely consist of humanitarian civic action, as well as command post and field training exercises, all of which are aimed at helping the participants get acquainted with measures to stabilize a conflict-stricken country.

For humanitarian civic action, Korean marines will engage in the construction of an elementary school while four naval military doctors will offer medical services to residents there. During the field training exercise, marine troops will participate in amphibious landing drills and other tactical training sessions.

“Our troops’ participation in the exercise will serve as a chance to enhance our capabilities to carry out humanitarian operations and deal with a variety of international threats through multinational combined operations,” the Marine Corps said in a press release Friday.

“We will also have a time to showcase our traditional culture and elite troops to the participating countries, which will contribute to enhancing our national standing.”

Korean marines will leave for Thailand on Feb. 5, using a U.S. aircraft.

By Song Sang-ho (