China-Thailand Start Joint Air Force Exercise "Falcon Strike 2022"

China-Thailand Start Joint Air Force Exercise "Falcon Strike 2022"
China-Thailand Start Joint Air Force Exercise "Falcon Strike 2022"

Bangkok - Thailand and China began joint Air Force exercises on Sunday (14/8/2022). This is the first joint exercise in years, following a lull caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The "Falcon Strike" exercise follows China's largest military exercise around Taiwan, which was carried out in retaliation for the visit of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan.

Thai Air Force Chief Marshall Prapas Sornchaidee said "the Falcon Strike, which took place from August 14 to August 25 in the northeast of the country, was intended to strengthen relations and understanding with China."

Read Also: US and Allies in Garuda Shield 2022 War Exercise, China Deploys Fighter Jets to Thailand

The visiting Chinese contingent will include fighter jets, bombers and airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft, the defense ministry said in Beijing last week. It added that the exercise would involve training for "air support, strikes against ground targets, and small and large-scale troop deployments". Thailand-China air force exercises have been held regularly since 2015 until the pandemic hit.

Washington has expressed growing concern over China's assertiveness in the Pacific region, and last week launched the "Super Garuda Shield" exercise in Indonesia with its allies. Thailand, which is seeking to strengthen its defense ties with China, was one of the first countries to buy Chinese Navy hardware under a deal finalized in 2017.

However, in 2020, a $724 million deal for two Chinese-made submarines was put on hold following public outcry. Further disputes over the ship's engines may see deliveries pushed back to 2024, local media reported this month.

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