Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Philippine, US, Japanese, and Australian naval exercises in South China Sea

By knl9j Apr6,2024
News

On Sunday, these coordinated movements will take place in order to counteract the growing influence that China is exerting in the region.

During a joint exercise between Philippine and Australian forces at a naval facility in Zambales province (Philippines), on August 25, 2023, American V-22 Osprey planes fly over the Australian ship “HMAS Canberra.” The drill was conducted in the Philippines. AFP Image by TED ALJIBE

The United States of America, Japan, and Australia jointly announced in a statement that they will be conducting naval drills in the South China Sea on Sunday, April 7. The exercises will be conducted in conjunction with the Philippines.

According to the press release, “Our Combined Defense Forces and Armies will hold a maritime cooperation activity in the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone on April 7, 2024, demonstrating our collective commitment to strengthening regional and international cooperation towards a free and open Indo-Pacific.” This activity will take place in the Philippines.

The South China Sea is a maritime zone that Beijing claims virtually entire sovereignty over. The exercises will take place a few days before a meeting that will take place in Washington, DC, and will bring together the President of the United States, Joe Biden, as well as the leaders of the Philippines and Japan.

This would be a demonstration of the allies’ “collective commitment” to boosting regional and international cooperation in the direction of a free and open Indo-Pacific area, as emphasized by the four countries.

In accordance with the joint statement, the exercises, which have been given the name “Maritime Cooperation Activity,” will involve the participation of naval and air force units from each of the four countries. These exercises, according to the four ministers of defense, “would strengthen the interoperability of [their] doctrines, tactics, techniques, and procedures,” as they put it.

There was no information provided regarding the manner in which the exercises would be carried out. It was announced in a separate statement by the Japanese embassy in Manila that the exercises will include “anti-submarine combat training.”

There is a warship from Australia present.
“These activities with our Australian, Japanese, and Philippine allies underscore our shared commitment to ensuring that all countries are free to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows,” said Lloyd Austin, the Secretary of State for Defense of the United States of America, in the joint statement.

As an additional point of interest, he stated that “our joint operations support peace and stability at the heart of our shared vision of a free and open region.”

At the beginning of this week, the Australian cruiser HMAS Warramunga arrived in the province of Palawan, which is located in close proximity to a marine zone that is the subject of a dispute.

During the year 2023, tensions in the region have become more intense as a result of China’s more pronounced assertion of its claims to maritime territories that are also claimed by Japan and the Philippines, in addition to the island of Taiwan, which is ruled independently. As a response, the United States has been working to bolster its relationships in the region, particularly with Japan and the Philippines, who are two of its longstanding allies.

Following an altercation with Chinese coast guards on March 28, 2024, in which three Filipino soldiers were injured, the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, issued a particularly resolute statement stating that Manila would not “allow itself to be reduced to silence, submission, or enslavement” by Beijing. This statement was made in response to the fact that Beijing had injured three Filipino soldiers.

The negotiations between the Philippines and Japan for a defense deal that would allow both countries to deploy soldiers in each other’s territory are “still ongoing,” according to a representative for the Filipino Ministry of Business. Those who are not Filipinos.

Philippine capital Manila has already reached a comparable deal with both the United States of America and Australia.

Philippines‘ Manila (AP) — In a show of force on Sunday in the South China Sea, where Beijing’s aggressive attempts to press its territorial claims have alarmed many, the United States, Japan, Australia, and the Philippines will conduct their first joint naval drills, including anti-submarine warfare training.

According to a joint statement released by their military chiefs on Saturday, the four treaty allies and security partners are conducting the drills to protect “the rule of law that is the foundation for a peaceful and stable Indo-Pacific region” as well as freedom of navigation and overflight.

The four nations reiterated their position that a 2016 international arbitration decision, which rejected China’s broad claims on historical grounds, was definitive and legally enforceable, even though China was not specifically addressed in the declaration.

China has rejected the decision, declined to take part in the arbitration, and is still defying it. Following a protracted maritime conflict, the Philippines took its claims with China to international arbitration in 2013.

China refrained from commenting immediately.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a warning last year about how military drills in the disputed areas involving the US and its allies could jeopardize its security and territorial interests.

The statement from the four countries read, “We stand with all nations in safeguarding the international order based on the rule of law that is the foundation for a peaceful and stable Indo-Pacific region.” However, the Maritime Cooperative Activity military drills’ specifics were not disclosed.

Japan said through its embassy in Manila that it will send its warship, the JS Akebono, to the South China Sea for military drills that included anti-submarine warfare training.

Japan’s Defense Minister, Minoru Kihara, stated in the statement that his country “believes that the issue concerning the South China Sea is directly related to the peace and stability of the region and is a legitimate concern of the international community including Japan, Australia, the Philippines, and the United States.”

“Japan is against any attempt at unilaterally altering the status quo through force, including those that heighten tensions in the South China Sea,” he declared.

The drills “underscore our shared commitment to ensuring that all countries are free to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows,” according to a statement released by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“Respect for national sovereignty and agreed rules and norms based on international law underpin the stability of our region,” stated Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles. The military exercises on Sunday, according to Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., would be the first in a series of events aimed at enhancing the Philippines’ “capacity for individual and collective self-defense.”

In addition to China and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan are also parties to the long-running disputes in the South China Sea, a vital passageway for international trade. However, since last year, tensions between Beijing and Manila have gotten very hot.

Although Washington does not claim the critical seaway, it has frequently stated that it must defend the Philippines, a longstanding treaty partner, in the event that Filipino forces, ships, or aircraft are subjected to an armed attack, including one that occurs in the South China Sea.

Fearing an escalation into a major battle among the two great powers, China has sent a warning to the United States not to get involved in the issues.

China and Japan have different territorial disputes pertaining to islands in the East China Sea. When President Joe Biden meets with his counterparts from Japan and the Philippines at the White House next week, escalating tensions in the disputed waters will undoubtedly be a top topic of discussion.

A Filipino admiral and four members of his navy were hurt during the most recent clashes last month when the Chinese coast guard deployed water cannons, severely damaging their wooden supply boat close to Second Thomas Shoal. A crewman was thrown from the ship by a powerful cannon burst, but instead of falling into the sea, he struck a wall, according to Philippine military sources.

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