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Press Releases 2009

The Ambassador’s Remarks for the Cobra Gold 2009 Press Conference RTARF Headquarters

January 13, 2009

Embassy of the United States of America

General Rachakrit Kanchanawat; distinguished guests; representatives from the Royal Thai Armed Forces, the United States, Japan, Singapore and Indonesia; ladies and gentlemen. It is my distinct honor and pleasure to be here for the press conference for Cobra Gold 2009.

The United States and Thailand have long been close friends and steadfast allies, and one of the reasons for the longevity of this special relationship has been the close ties between our uniformed services. The Kingdom of Thailand is the oldest Asian ally of the United States and this is the 28th year of Cobra Gold; an exercise that has become the most visible and largest military cooperative effort in the Pacific region. Moreover, the exercise is a symbol of U.S. commitment to support the security of our friends and allies in the Asia-Pacific region and an indication of the importance the United States places on stability in Southeast Asia.

We are pleased that Indonesia, Japan, and Singapore are partners in what was for years a bilateral exercise. I would also like to welcome representatives of all the observer nations. Their involvement in Cobra Gold highlights our Thai host's willingness to open this event to so many countries as both participants and observers.

What started this series of exercises 28 years ago was a naval exercise during Cold War years. Today, Cobra Gold has transformed into a multinational, multifaceted event that promote regional stability and security. The exercise offers training second to none, and brings together military experts from throughout the ASEAN region and beyond. There is no better exercise than Cobra Gold in keeping our militaries ready to respond to the real-world priorities of peacekeeping, stability, reconstruction, and humanitarian assistance. Relief efforts for the 2004 tsunami and last year for Cyclone Nargis demonstrated that multi-national responses to regional crises are likely to be the norm in the future, and the ability of regional partners to assist those in need was a direct product of the multilateral training that takes place in Cobra Gold.

The number of events taking place simultaneously during this year's exercise is truly impressive. While troops are honing skills on the ground, in the air, and in the waters around Thailand, service members from the United States, Thailand, Singapore, Japan and Indonesia will participate in a computer exercise designed around a multi-national peacekeeping scenario.

At the same time, humanitarian assistance projects will help to improve quality of life in remote rural Thai villages, while allowing our troops the opportunity to develop military skills that can be used in future peacekeeping or humanitarian assistance deployments. These humanitarian projects demonstrate our mutual resolve to support security and development interests throughout the region.

As you see, the friendship and good cooperation between the United States and Thailand in co-hosting Cobra Gold not only enhances our relations, but promotes peace and understanding throughout the region. I look forward to Cobra Gold 2009 continuing the strong tradition of multilateral cooperation between our regional allies and friends, and in supporting regional cooperation and stability in Southeast Asia.

Thank you.