Asia Minute: Unusual Developments with Regional Naval Exercises

Jun 2, 2017

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U.S. and Japanese naval ships are in the middle of three days of military exercises off the coast of Korea. The scale of the maneuvers is larger than previous drills, and it comes as there’s a surprise involving another naval exercise planned off the coast of India next month. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


In the Sea of Japan, a naval exercise this week notable for its size and composition.

Two US aircraft carriers are there: the Carl Vinson and the Ronald Reagan—along with eight escort ships.

Japan sent a helicopter carrier and another ship, as well as F-15 fighter jets.

Reuters quotes a Japanese military spokesman saying “it’s the first time we have exercised with two carriers. It’s a major exercise for us.”

The drills follow North Korea’s latest missile test.

Another set of naval maneuvers is getting attention this week—largely because of who will NOT be taking part.

The Malabar Exercises started in 1992 as a bilateral event involving forces from the U.S. and India. Japan joined them several years ago—becoming a permanent member of the drills in 2015.

This year, Australia wanted to take part.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports that request was denied by India reportedly because of concerns raised by China.

After last year’s Malabar exercises, the Beijing newspaper Global Times echoed government suspicions in writing “Such a large-scale military exercise was obviously designed to target China’s submarine activities in the East and South China Seas in recent years, promote the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific and cement the U.S. presence in the region.”