| GEO World|
| US, Thailand wrap up joint war games|
| Updated at: 1003 PST, Tuesday, February 17, 2009|
BANGKOK: Thailand ended its annual war games Tuesday after two weeks of joint military exercises with troops from the United States, Japan, Singapore and Indonesia.
Speaking in the northern city of Chiang Mai at the closing ceremony of "Cobra Gold," the biggest war games in Southeast Asia, US Ambassador Eric John said the exercise was a "vital tool" in strengthening regional ties.
"This year (the games) demonstrate once again the importance of Cobra Gold to the bilateral US-Thai military relationship and to friends in the region," John said. One focus of this year's events was on UN peacekeeping operations. “The work our troops have done in this exercise can help to save lives in future operations, peacekeeping deployments and disaster responses," John said.
About 11,600 military personnel from the five nations were involved in the games, which began on February 4. Nearly 7,300 troops from the US conducted air, water and ground exercises alongside about 4,000 troops from Thailand, 106 from Singapore, 75 from Japan and 113 from Indonesia, according to the Thai army.