Naval drills in Western Pacific held

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  • 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.
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