Chinese troops arrived in Thailand on Wednesday shortly before a joint army exercise focusing on counter-terrorism, with analysts saying that consecutive military exchanges between China and Thailand highlight a high level of development in the two countries' security cooperation.
A Chinese detachment from a brigade affiliated with the 74th Group Army of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) arrived in the exercise zone in Thailand via air on Wednesday morning, China Central Television (CCTV) reported that same day.
The troops traveled via a PLA Air Force Y-20 strategic transport aircraft, the report shows.
Scheduled to start in mid-August and last until early September, the China-Thailand Commando-2023 joint army training exercise will focus on joint counter-terrorism operations, CCTV reported.
The joint exercise aims to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation between the militaries of China and Thailand, promote the development of the two countries' military relations and play a positive role in safeguarding peace and stability in the region, the report said.
It is organized based on an annual schedule and a consensus reached by the two countries, said Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesperson from China's Ministry of National Defense, in a press release on Monday.
China and Thailand have been holding frequent military exchanges recently. The armies, navies and air forces of the two countries have been organizing joint exercises since July, a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Wednesday.
The joint air force exercise the expert referred to is Falcon Strike-2023. The 21-day drill held in Thailand in July involved advanced warplanes from both sides, reportedly including the J-10C and the J-11B fighter jets, the JH-7A fighter bomber and the KJ-500 early warning aircraft from China and the Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighter jet, the Alpha Jet and the Saab 340 early warning aircraft from Thailand.
In September, the navies of the two countries are expected to hold the routinely scheduled Blue Strike exercise in Thailand, according to a report by the Bangkok Post in July.
Such exchanges reflect the high level in the two countries' military relations, the expert said.
The Thai military also uses many Chinese weapons and equipment, with some examples being the HTMS Chang Type 071E landing platform dock and the VT4 main battle tanks, according to media reports.