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US maneuvers as much diplomatic as military

Thailand, the U.S., and five other main participants, topped the list of 28 nations involved in Cobra Gold. (Photo by Shinya Sawai)

SATTAHIP, Thailand -- Though unusually chilly, it was an otherwise bright and sunny morning on Tuesday at Sattahip, the home port of the Royal Thai Navy some 30km south of the raucous beach resort of Pattaya.

     Cobra Gold, the largest multilateral military exercise in Southeast Asia, was kicking off for a 35th year at Thailand's naval headquarters despite a more fraught than usual diplomatic relationship with its main foreign participant -- the U.S.

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