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U.S. open to inviting Myanmar to observe war game

(Xinhua)

15:01, October 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Defense Department is open to considering a Thai request to allow Myanmar's military officers to observe a joint military exercise, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here on Friday.

In a sign of thawing relations between the United States and Myanmar, Little said that Thailand, which hosts the Cobra Gold 2013 joint exercise, is in consultation with Washington on whether to invite up to three officers from Myanmar to observe portions of the annual event.

If the invitation is extended, the Myanmar observers will participate in the humanitarian assistance/disaster response and military medical portions of the exercise.

Cobra Gold is a Thai-led exercise and also the largest Asia- based war game the United States participates in. Around 6,900 U.S. service members participated in Cobra Gold 2012, held in February.

The exercise has two sets of observers. The first category is called multinational planning augmentation teams, which include nations like Singapore, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia.

If invited, Myanmar would fall into the second category, known as coalition observer liaison teams. In the 2012 exercise, the participating coalition observer liaison teams came from Brunei, China, the Netherlands, Laos, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates.

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