According to the program 軍事報道 (“Military Report”) on 中央電視臺(Central China Television [CCTV])’s 軍事農業頻道 (Military and Agricultural Service) on channel 7, China has officially joined Command Post Exercise (CPX) Cobra Gold for 2014:
This is one of the largest annual exercises in the Asia-Pacific region. Started in 1982, it remains largely a bilateral exercise between the US and Thai forces, but has expanded to include other nations as observers, and sometimes participants.
According to the South China Morning Post…
The Cobra Gold drills started in 1982 and have developed into the largest multinational military exercises in the Asia-Pacific region. China has been an observer since 2002 but has never been invited to take part before.
“China’s participation in the drill is a positive sign as it could reduce mistrust regarding the role of American soldiers in this region,” Lieutenant General Tharnchaiyant Srisuwan, director of the exercises, told the Bangkok Post newspaper.
This is a shot across Japanese Prime Minister, 安倍晋三(Shinzo Abe)‘s bow. Who has been somewhat successful in cultivating relations with other Asian nations recently. Namely the Philippines, Indonesia, and India.
It seems the US is trying to undercut Japan’s aggressiveness in Asia, by bringing China into the fold. While at the same time, including China as a way to keep tabs on their activity in the South China Sea (i.e. the Pinnacles, the Spratlys, and so on…). Ultimately, this is also the US saying STOP IT WITH THE CRAP IN THE EAST CHINA SEA, CHINA AND JAPAN!
Timing as always in International Politics is interesting, as this comes after the US puts out their public statement against China’s Nine-dash Line, which is exactly the theater of operations CPX Cobra Gold is concerned with:
America’s got an interesting playbook.