Thailand and the United States have begun their annual Cobra Gold military exercise, with South Korea taking part for the first time.

The U.S. Embassy said Singapore, Japan and Indonesia will also participate in the three-week training exercise, which the U.S. Army describes as the largest of its type in the world. About 11,500 personnel, including 6,000 from the U.S., will take part.

At Monday’s opening ceremony in the eastern province of Rayong, U.S. Ambassador Eric G. John described Cobra Gold, now in its 29th year, as “an important symbol of U.S. military commitment to maintaining peace and security in Asia.”

The core exercise will focus on multilateral peacekeeping operations and humanitarian and disaster responses.

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