China, Thailand air forces to hold joint exercise

China, Thailand air forces to hold combined exercise, aims to improve understanding between two countries' aviation force troops

Photo by: China Military Online
Photo by: China Military Online

Two J-10 fighters take off to participate in the confrontation training exercise. The air force under the PLA Guangzhou Military Area Command (MAC) organised its various types of military aircraft to conduct confrontation training exercise in October

The Chinese Defence Ministry announced on Wednesday that the Chinese and Thai air forces will hold joint exercises in November, which is another sign of Thailand's increased engagement with Beijing.

According to the announcement from PLAAF (The People's Liberation Army Air Force), the combined training will take place at Wing 1, Korat with RTAF (Royal Thai Air Force) Base in between 12-30 of November.

Exercise aims ‘improving mutual learning and understanding between the two countries' aviation force troops, deepening pragmatic cooperation and enhancing trust and friendship, said PLAAF spokesperson Shen Jinke.

The Chinese Ministry’s named the combined training as "Falcon Strike 2015" saying "The aim of this joint exercise is to increase mutual learning and understanding between the two countries' air forces, deepen Sino-Thai practical cooperation and increase mutual trust and friendship," it said, without elaborating.

In May 2014, an army-led coup toppled Thailand’s elected government, people protested the coup several times.

The coup was also widely condemned by Western nations, which downgraded diplomatic ties, but the military rulers claimed to have support from China following the move. 

Recently China conducted combined exercises with its neighbours and region countries, with the main joint exercise being with Russia back in August.

On the other hand, Thailand who is generally an ally of the United States, has improved ties with neighbour countries especially with Beijing.

China increases influence in Thailand, not only on the topic of infrastructure but also in strengthening economic ties with Thailand.

Thailand’s Commerce Minister Gen Chatchai Sarikalya announced on August 10, that China and Thailand reached an agreement with China which entailed Beijing to buy one million tonnes of Thai rice before the end of 2015.

The trade was a part of a broader memorandum of understanding (MoU), in where last December China bought two million tonnes of Thai rice which is currently the second largest exporter of rice to the world.

Thailand is set to improve relations with China and to award China with a submarine deal, they will hand over 109 Uyghurs to Chinese authorities.

In July, Thailand had a billion-dollar deal for three submarine deals with China.

This is despite the important limits that continue to exist in the Sino-Thai relationship that officially started in November 1975.

Lastly, China made its presence felt and increased its assertive acts in the South China sea where China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei all have competing territorial claims.

Asia-Pacific defence ministers failed to issue a planned joint statement during regional defence talks in Malaysia due to differences between China and the United States over the content of the document, in which Beijing opposes the mentioning of the South China Sea disputes.


TRTWorld and agencies