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Friday, 13 May 2016

China, Thailand set to hold joint military exercises

BEIJING: China and Thailand will hold joint exercises beginning this month, China's Ministry of Defence said on Friday, in another sign of improving relations since the Thai military seized power in 2014. Thailand's military has sought to counterbalance traditionally close ties with the United States by engaging more with China since the May 2014 coup that the United States and other Western countries objected to. China has rattled nerves in Southeast Asia with its increasingly assertive action in the South China Sea, where it rejects rival claims over parts of the sea by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei. Thailand does not have claims in those disputed waters. Thailand's relations with the United States have cooled since the military overthrew an elected government two years ago. The United States has downgraded its military exercises and training with Thailand saying the programmes would be restored after a general election. The military government says an election will be held next year.

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