The United States’ Department of Defense announced on Wednesday that they, along with Japan and South Korea, would be holding naval exercises later this month. On June 21st and 22nd, the three countries will in the ocean waters south of the Korean peninsula. An official release from the Pentagon states that the purpose is improve cooperative communications and operations with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and ROK Navy, in an effort to better prepare for disaster relief or matters of security.
The exercises are to take place outside the territorial waters of any nearby nations, and once completed, the US and South Korea will continue with a carrier operation in the Yellow Sea from the 23rd through 25th. The United States has refocused it efforts in the Asia-Pacific regions to prepare for any disputes in the area, specifically involving China or North Korea. Part of the purpose behind the relocation of marines from Okinawa is to spread out and counter the growing presence of China’s military strength.
Japan and South Korea are also very concerned about the recent actions taken by North Korea, especially with their latest in a series of long-range missile tests conducted back in April. In addition to the ongoing territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands, which are looking more and more likely to lead to escalation in troubled relations, the Japanese government supposedly has evidence that a Chinese company was involved in the sale of missile transports to North Korea. Liu Weimin, the Chinese Foreign minister, commented about the joint naval exercise that he hopes all parties, including China, can work together on maintaining and promoting peace, stability, and development in the region. -By Adam Westlake