Japan, the United States, France and Australia began military exercises in the South China Sea
These are the second teachings of the "Land of the Rising Sun" in two weeks
/NOVOSTIVL/ The Maritime Self-Defense Force has kicked off its second quadrilateral naval exercise in less than two weeks, with warships — including Japan’s largest flat-topped helicopter carrier Izumo — joining vessels from the Australian, French and U.S. navies in waters west of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. This article appeared in The Japan Times.
The joint drills, which began Sunday and are scheduled to run through Wednesday, saw the Izumo and the MSDF destroyer Murasame link up with the French Navy’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier strike group, an Australian Navy frigate and submarine, and a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer, the MSDF said in a statement.
It comes on the heels of a multilateral exercise that saw the MSDF sail with ships from the U.S., India and the Philippines navies in the disputed South China Sea.
The multilateral exercises are likely to be interpreted in Beijing as pushback over its moves in the South China Sea, where China has constructed a series of military outposts, some observers say.
The waterway includes vital sea lanes through which about $3 trillion in global trade passes each year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims in the waters, where the U.S., Chinese, Japanese and some Southeast Asian navies also routinely operate.
Japan has worked to bolster its presence in the South China Sea, deploying the Izumo and Murasame as part of the MSDF’s Indo-Pacific deployment this year, which began April 30 and runs through July 10.