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China and Thailand started yesterday joint military exercises in Northeast Thailand - the first after a long interruption due to COVID-19, the Thai army announced, as quoted by France Press.

The maneuvers, codenamed "Falcon Attack," come after China's largest-ever military exercises around Taiwan in response to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island, which Beijing considers a breakaway province.

Joint Sino-Thai maneuvers have been held every year since 2015 until the outbreak of COVID-19.

This year's exercises, which will take place from August 14 to 25, aim to "strengthen ties and understanding" with China, said Thai Air Force Chief Prapas Sornchaidi.

China has sent fighter jets, bombers and early warning planes to the exercises, China's defense ministry said this week, adding that the maneuvers will include training in "air support, air strikes against ground targets and the deployment of troop units of various sizes."

China sends fighter jets to Thailand for joint exercises

Washington says it is concerned about China's growing presence in the region and has in turn begun joint maneuvers with its allies in Indonesia this week, according to AFP.

Thailand has been seeking to strengthen its defense ties with China for several years.

The country is among the first to purchase Chinese military equipment under an agreement signed in 2017, AFP recalls.


military exercises