(MENAFN- AzerNews) Japan, the US, Australia and the Philippines have held joint
naval drills in the South China Sea, the Japanese Defense Ministry
said Friday, amid China's continuattempts to obstruct Manila's
supply activities at military footholds in the water, Azernews reports, citing the Japan Times.
The four countries' training comes after a Chinese coast guard
vessel shot a water cannon at a Philippine military-chartered boat
near the Manila-controlled Second Thomas Shoal in the South China
Sea early this month.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's largest destroyer,
Izumo, and destroyer Samidare took part in the drills, the ministry
The two Japanese vessels will dock at the Manila port from
Friday through next Thursday, according to the ministry. Izumo is
set to become a de facto aircraft carrier after undergoing
additional renovations slated to begin next year or 2025.
TheNavy's littoral combat ship Mobile, Australia's
amphibiassault ship Canberra, frigate Anzac and F-35A fighter
jets, and the Philippine Navy's landing ship Davao Del Sur were the
others involved in the exercises, the ministry said.
The ministry said in a statement that the purpose of the
training is to "strengthen collaboration toward the realization of
a free and open Indo-Pacific," a Tokyo-promoted concept widely seen
as countering Beijing's rising clout in the region.
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