Japan to host first joint military drill with US, France - heightening tensions in South China Sea


TOKYO, April 24, 2021 (AFP): Japan will hold a joint military drill with US and French troops in the country's southwest next month, the defence minister said Friday, as China's actions in regional waters raise concern.

The exercise, running from May 11 to 17, will be the first large-scale exercise in Japan involving ground troops from all three countries, the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) said in a statement.

It comes as Tokyo seeks to deepen defence cooperation beyond its key US ally to counter Beijing's growing assertiveness in the East and South China seas.

"France shares the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific," Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters.

"By strengthening cooperation between Japan, the United States and France, we'd like to further improve the tactics and skills of the Self-Defense Forces in defending remote island territories," he said.

Paris has strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific where it has territories, including the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean and French Polynesia in the South Pacific.

The joint drills will be held at the JGSDF's Kirishima training ground and Camp Ainoura in the Kyushu region and include amphibious operation exercises.

Last week, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and US President Joe Biden vowed to stand firm together against China and step up cooperation including on technology.

Japan has long said it feels threatened by China's vast military resources and territorial disputes.

It is particularly concerned by Chinese activity after the Japanese-administered Senkaku islands, which Beijing claims and calls the Diaoyu.

Washington has reiterated in recent months that the US-Japan Security Treaty covers the disputed islands.

China claims the majority of the South China Sea, invoking its so-called nine-dash line to justify what it says are historic rights to the key trade waterway.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan all contest parts of China's declared territory in the sea.

An international tribunal in The Hague in 2016 invalidated China's claims in the South China Sea in a first-ever ruling, also saying Chinese reclamation activities in the Spratly Islands are illegal. Beijing rejected the decision. - AFP
Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Next In Aseanplus News

Ringgit likely to trade within 4.0-4.11 level this week
US' Biden launches G7 scheme to rival China's Road and Belt plan
Malaysians in Hungary see life returning to normal, thanks to vaccination
G7 leaders take on China, Covid and climate
US-China Tech war: TikToK, WeChat remain in Washington’s crosshairs after Biden revokes Trump’s orders
China’s rocket force tests ‘carrier killer’ DF-26 ballistic missiles
Hong Kong to update air-quality plan, with city’s power companies facing lower emissions targets from 2026
China tells South Korea: resist being led astray by US Indo-Pacific strategy
Next two weeks of lockdown critical to reduce daily infections to 4,000, says Health DG
After the pandemic, a wave of spending by older consumers

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers