US to Invite Burma to Observe Military Exercises

Posted October 19th, 2012 at 7:00 am (UTC-5)
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Thailand says the United States plans to invite Burma to observe a major regional military exercise early next year.

Thai Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Thanathip Sawangsang said on Friday that Burma will be allowed to observe “Cobra Gold,” which annually brings together more than 10,000 troops U.S. and Thai troops and other participants from countries in the region.

He said plans have not yet been finalized, and the participants would discuss the idea at a meeting later this month.

The invitation would be a powerful gesture toward Burma's semi-civilian government, after the military earned a grim record of human rights abuses during the 49 years it directly ruled the country.

Thai officials say Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia are expected to participate in Cobra Gold next year, along with 13 observer nations.