United States and Australia begin their biggest ever joint military exercise
June 29, Sydney: United States and Australia began their biggest ever joint military exercises on Thursday, a show of force, largely at sea, aimed at sending a message both to allies and potential foes, including China.
The exercises involving 33,000 U.S. and Australian troops on board battleships equipped with strike jets, comes as tension over China's more assertive activity, particularly in the disputed South China Sea, has raised fears of confrontation. Admiral Harry Harris, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, Said “ I'm pleased about that message it sends our friends, allies, partners and potential adversaries,".
Relations between the United States and China have soured in recent months as the United States seeks to counter what it observes as Chinese assertiveness in the Pacific, encapsulated by Beijing's artificial island building in the South China Sea. China claims most of the resource-rich South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims on the waterway.
The exercise will go on for a month in Australian territorial waters and will include training in land and air operations.
The Oslo Times International News Network