Japan-Korea talks: US partners hold drills

Tokyo –

The United States, Canada, India, Japan and South Korea are conducting joint anti-submarine exercises as the leaders of Japan and South Korea are negotiating to strengthen their alliance with Washington in the face of threats. from China and North Korea.

Exercise Sea Dragon 23 that begins Wednesday will culminate in more than 270 hours of aerial training “from tracking simulated targets to the ultimate task of tracking a US Navy submarine.” “, the US 7th Fleet said in a press release.

The 7th Fleet said pilots and flight officers from all participating countries will also hold classroom training sessions to “plan and discuss tactics that combine capabilities and equipment of the fleet. respective countries”.

The drills are being held as a competition, with the country with the most points taking home the “Dragon Belt”.

The US Navy is being represented by two P-8A Poseidon Maritime Reconnaissance and Patrol Aircraft, currently based in Guam. It did not say where the exercises would be held or how long they would last.

With 50 to 70 ships and submarines, 150 aircraft, and more than 27,000 sailors and marines ready to deploy at any time, the 7th Fleet “regularly interacts and operates with Allies and partners to protect a free and open Indo-Pacific”. speak.

That includes activity in the South China Sea, where it often angers Beijing by sailing and flying near islands held and fortified by China, which claims almost the entire strategic waterway. .

The exercise also comes as the Chinese navy is participating in a joint search and rescue exercise in the Gulf of Oman with Iran and Russia, three of the countries most at odds with the United States.

Other countries, which have not been identified, are also taking part in the “Security Bond-2023” exercise, which the Chinese Defense Ministry said will “help strengthen practical cooperation between the navies of the participating countries” family… .”

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday that the White House was not concerned about the joint exercise.

China’s dispute with Japan over islets in the East China Sea has also heated up, with both sides accusing the other of violating their maritime territories.

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