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World Japan and U.S. begin major military exercise as concern about China grows

15:21  26 october  2020
15:21  26 october  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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In an implicit message to China , the Japanese and U . S . militaries teamed up this week for a number of joint exercises involving warships, heavy bombers, advanced fighter jets and an aircraft carrier in the waters and airspace near Japan . Amid growing acrimony between the two superpowers, Tokyo

Japan ' s navy and air force began a three-day military exercise with two U . S . aircraft carriers in the Sea of Japan on Thursday adding pressure on North Korea to halt an accelerating ballistic missile program. Japan ' s Maritime Self Defence Force has sent two ships, including one of its four helicopter.

By Tim Kelly

a group of people walking through a cloudy sky: Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force soldiers watch U.S. MV-22 Osprey aircrafts on board of the helicopter destroyer JS Kaga during Keen Sword, at mid-sea off south of Japan © Reuters/TIM KELLY Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force soldiers watch U.S. MV-22 Osprey aircrafts on board of the helicopter destroyer JS Kaga during Keen Sword, at mid-sea off south of Japan

ON BOARD JS KAGA (Reuters) - Japan and the United States on Monday began air, sea and land exercises around Japan in a show of force in the face of increased Chinese military activity in the region.

The Keen Sword exercise is the first big drill since Yoshihide Suga became Japan's prime minister last month with a vow to continue the military build-up aimed at countering China, which claims Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea.

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Increasingly, South Korea’ s and Japan ’ s perceptions of China are also divergent. In 2019, Japan ’ s annual defense white paper placed China over North Korea as Japan ’ s most serious security threat for the first time.15 Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono cited China ’ s rapid increases in military

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Keen Sword, which is held every two years, involves dozens of warships, hundreds of aircraft and 46,000 soldiers, sailors and marines from Japan and the United States. Running until to Nov. 5 it will include cyber and electronic warfare training for the first time.

"The security situation around Japan has become increasingly severe. This gives us the opportunity to demonstrate the strength of the Japan-U.S. alliance," General Koji Yamazaki, Japan's top military commander said on board the Kaga helicopter carrier in waters south of Japan.


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Japan's biggest warship was accompanied by U.S. aircraft carrier the USS Ronald Reagan and its escort destroyers. The 248 metre (814 ft) Kaga, which was returning from patrols in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean, will be refitted as early as next year to carry F-35 stealth fighters.

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"The islands in the South China Sea are China ' s territory Pompeo said at the same briefing that the US has been consistent in raising its concerns about China ' s behavior in the South China Sea. US Defense Secretary Mattis is scheduled to travel to China and Japan at the end of June, defense

The need for us to laser focus on China ’ s economic and military ambitions is going to be more urgent once we beat this pandemic, not less.” The European funding paid for new military exercises , the deployment of forces to the Baltic States and Poland, and upgrades to logistic facilities, like ports.

a man in a military uniform: Lieutenant General Kevin Schneider, commander of U.S. Forces Japan, and General Koji Yamazaki, Japan's top military commander of Chief of Staff of Joint Staff greet each other on the destroyer JS Kaga at mid-sea off south of Japan © Reuters/TIM KELLY Lieutenant General Kevin Schneider, commander of U.S. Forces Japan, and General Koji Yamazaki, Japan's top military commander of Chief of Staff of Joint Staff greet each other on the destroyer JS Kaga at mid-sea off south of Japan

Suga this month visited Vietnam and Indonesia as part of Japan’s efforts to bolster ties with key Southeast Asian allies. That followed a meeting in Tokyo of the “Quad”, an informal grouping of India, Australia, Japan and the United States that Washington sees as a bulwark against China’s growing regional influence. Beijing as denounced it as a “mini-NATO” aimed at containing it.

Japan has grown particularly concerned about an uptick in Chinese naval activity around the disputed islands in the East China Sea that Tokyo claims as the Senkaku and Diaoyu in Beijing.

Accompanying Gen Yamazaki on the Kaga, Lieutenant General Kevin Schneider, commander of U.S. Forces Japan pointed to recent activity by China that worried Washington and Tokyo, including new security laws in Hong Kong that had undermined the territory's autonomy, China's military build up in the South China Sea and harassment of Taiwan by the Chinese military over the past few months.

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Reuters has reported that Japan ' s navy and air force began a three-day military exercise with two U . S . aircraft carriers in the Sea of Japan on Thursday adding Japan ' s Maritime Self Defense Force has sent two ships, including one of its four helicopter carriers, the Hyuga, to join the U . S carriers, the

Tensions between China and the United States have reached the most acute levels since the countries normalized diplomatic relations more than four decades ago, with the American government’ s ordering that China close its Houston consulate being just the latest example.

a man standing in front of a building: Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force soldiers wearing protective masks are seen on board of the helicopter destroyer JS Kaga during Keen Sword, at mid-sea off south of Japan © Reuters/TIM KELLY Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force soldiers wearing protective masks are seen on board of the helicopter destroyer JS Kaga during Keen Sword, at mid-sea off south of Japan

China has said it intentions in the region are peaceful.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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