Japan, US agree on joint S.China Sea drills

Japanese, US officials decide to hold joint exercises in contested sea amid China's maritime expansion

Japan, US agree on joint S.China Sea drills

World Bulletin / News Desk

Japan and the United States have agreed to conduct joint naval drills in the South China Sea.

Kyodo News reported Wednesday that Japan's defense chief and a top U.S. commander had agreed to demonstrate the two countries' strong ties and "keep in check an increasingly assertive China" during a meeting at Camp Smith, Hawaii.

During the meeting, Japanese Defense Minister Gen. Nakatani was quoted as saying that "U.S. action is at the forefront of international efforts to ensure peace and freedom of movement at sea."

On top of joint Japan-U.S. drills and trilateral exercises with Australia, Nakatani and U.S. Adm. Harry Harris also decided to promote joint drills with Southeast Asian countries, the official said.

China claims almost all the resource-rich South China Sea, and has overlapping claims with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei.

Its reclamation work, which includes the building of airfields on some of the disputed islands, has stirred global controversy and provoked tensions in the region.

The U.S. and Japan have expressed alarm at China's maritime expansion, which they suspect is aimed at extending its military reach, while the Philippines -- which calls the area the West Philippine Sea -- has taken the quarrel to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in The Hague.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Kasım 2015, 15:41