By The Nation
Brown held talks with Thai military commander-in-chief General Surapong Suwanna-art on Monday with an emphasis on Cobra Gold, the largest Asia-Pacific exercise held annually in Thailand, with seven countries participating.
An official guest of the Royal Thai Army, Brown is scheduled to stay in Thailand from Saturday to Wednesday. Yesterday, he also met with Army chief General Chalermchai Sittisart and today is scheduled to visit the 31st Infantry Regiment King’s Guard in Lopburi.
This year, the Thai military will participate in a range of bilateral military exercises. Among them will be the bilateral Hanuman guardian exercise on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and the Balance Torch training to improve special operations forces. The oldest regional ally to the US, Thailand this year will see its 184th anniversary of relations with the western power. However, bilateral relations have soured since the 2014 coup, which has deterred a democratic climate in Thailand.
While the military exercises with the US have continued, the Thai junta government has purchased military hardware from China and Russia, with major claims on affordability, instead from its Western ally.