SCMP reports: “Japan and the United States have called off a joint naval exercise planned for next month in a bid to avoid irritating China and escalating their ongoing territorial dispute in the East China Sea, Japanese media reported.
“Citing a Japanese government source, the Tokyo-based Jiji Press said the decision to skip the drill on November 5-16 ‘reflects the decision of [the] prime minister’s office’. The two navies had intended to rehearse the recapture of a remote island not unlike one of the disputed Diaoyu Islands.
“Some Japanese feared the exercise on Okinawa prefecture‘s Irisunajima Island would further anger Beijing, especially because it would have conflicted with the Communist Party’s once-in-a-decade leadership reshuffle.”
“Nonetheless, the US military continued to project force in other ways. The USS George Washington aircraft carrier sailed through the South China Sea – not far from the Scarborough Shoal – on its way to Manila.
“The shoal, known as Huangyan Island in China and Panatag Shoal in the Philippines, is claimed by Beijing and Manila.
“Vietnamese security and government officials were flown onto the nuclear-powered ship, underlining the burgeoning military relationship between the former enemies.
“Captain Gregory Fenton said the mission was aimed in part at improving relations with Vietnam and ensuring the US had free passage in the South China Sea.
“‘It is our goal to see the region’s nations figure out these tensions … on their own, our role [in] that to date is to conduct freedom-of-navigation exercises within international waters,’ Fenton said in an interview on the bridge.”Read the full SCMP report
- US sends carrier group into South China Sea (chinadailymail.com)
- Obvious signs of eased tension between China and Japan (chinadailymail.com)
- China’s naval exercises in East China Sea send warning to regional rivals (csmonitor.com)