China and Thailand will hold the "Blue Strike-2023" joint naval training exercise in the Gulf of Thailand and Chon Buri's Sattahip district, with Chinese warships and submarines taking part.
The annual drill will be held from Sunday to Sept 10 in the upper Gulf of Thailand and Phra Maha Chetsadachao Camp of Marine Division in Sattahip, a navy source said on Friday.
Both are aiming to exchange naval knowledge to ensure their readiness to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, carry out naval operatiodns as well as strengthen military relations, the source said.
The Chinese ships arrived at a training site on Thursday.
On Friday, navy chief Adm Choengchai Chomchoengpaet, Chinese envoy Han Zhiqiang and Royal Thai Fleet commander Adm Adung Phan-iam welcomed RAdm Chen Weidong, deputy chief of the Chinese Marine Corps, at the Royal Thai Fleet Headquarters. They also welcomed special Capt Peng Peng, leader of a squad of Chinese navy trainees, and senior Chinese officers.
A Chinese naval task force will participate in the drills using their Changcheng submarine, amphibious dock landing ship Siming Shan, guided-missile frigate Anyang, and comprehensive supply ship Chaohu.
Both sides will conduct land and sea training and practise sniping tactics, jungle survival and maritime search and rescue. There will also be learning sessions about chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence.
The training aims to enhance practical cooperation between the two navies and strengthen their capabilities of jointly addressing regional security threats, said the source.
Meanwhile, Adm Choengchai said on Friday that he had approved the use of the Chinese-made CHD620 engine as a substitute for a German-made one for an S26T Yuan-class submarine being assembled in China by the China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co.
The navy will also spend up to 200 million baht to salvage the sunken HTMS Sukhothai in Prachuap Khiri Khan, he said. It will spare 110 million baht from its budget and ask for an additional 90 million baht from the Budget Bureau for the mission, he said.