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US and Japan carry out anti-submarine drills in South China Sea

Exercises involve anti-submarine training, including tracking submerged submarine

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USS Milius and unidentified Japanese submarine. (JMSDF photo)

USS Milius and unidentified Japanese submarine. (JMSDF photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The American and Japanese navies conducted their first-ever joint anti-submarine warfare exercise in the South China Sea on Tuesday (Nov. 16), according to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

Japanese destroyer the JS Murasame (DD101), helicopter destroyer the JS Kaga (DHH-184), an unnamed Oyashio-class submarine, and a P-1 maritime patrol plane carried out anti-submarine warfare drills in the South China Sea with U.S. Navy destroyer the USS Milius (DDG-69) and a U.S. Navy P-8A maritime patrol plane, according to USNI News.

The drills involved anti-submarine training, including tracking a submarine traveling underwater, according to NHK.

Last week, the Murasame and Kaga carried out a drill in the South China Sea with the Milius, after which the Japanese naval vessels made a port call in Philippine municipality Subic over the weekend, per USNI News. After leaving Subic, the Japanese ships conducted an exercise with Philippine Navy frigate the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150).

The JMSDF on Nov. 9 also said that it would be carrying out a mine warfare exercise in addition to a bilateral mine warfare drill with the U.S. Navy from Nov. 18 to 28 in the Hyuga Nada Sea off Kyushu. On Tuesday, the JMSDF said that from Nov. 21 to 30, it will hold a bilateral naval drill with the U.S. Navy and two multilateral exercises in waters around Japan, according to USNI News.

The news outlet said the first multilateral drill will involve the JMSDF, U.S. Navy, Royal Australian Navy, and Germany Navy, while the second involves the JMSDF, U.S. Navy, Royal Australian Navy, and Royal Canadian Navy.

As China continues to increase its military presence in the South China Sea, the U.S. has increased cooperation with other regional powers to counter Beijing’s growing presence.