Naval drills in Western Pacific held
24, May 2019
Prelims level : Mains level :
- S. Navy ships conducted joint drills with warships from allies Japan, Australia and South Korea in their first combined exercise in the Western Pacific.
- The six-day exercise involves two Japanese destroyers, two Australian frigates and a destroyer from South Korea, with as many as 3,000 sailors participating.
- The drill, dubbed Malabar, is an annual event between the US and India, and Japan is joining it this year for the first time since 2007.
- Last year, the drill was held in the Bay of Bengal near India.
- Japan’s southwestern island chain, which hosts biggest concentration of US military personnel in Asia, blocks China’s east coast access to Western Pacific. Japan’s military is reinforcing with radar stations and anti-ship missile batteries.
- Lying around 220km (137 miles) west of Taiwan are a group of uninhabited isles, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China, which are controlled by Tokyo and claimed by Beijing.
- China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims, as well as close military ties with the United States.