USA, Australia, Japan drilling with the Philippines in the South China Sea; China flies military drone near Taiwan

HMAS Canberra (L02) with JS Izumo (DDH-183) on 24 August 2023. JMSDF Photo

The United States, Australia, Japan and the Philippines held a joint exercise with Australian and Japanese large-deck ships based in the region on Thursday in the waters off Manila. Meanwhile, Chinese bombers flew near Japan while a Chinese unmanned aerial vehicle conducted a flight off the east coast of Taiwan, according to Japanese Defense Ministry press releases.

A press release from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) on Friday said the helicopter carrier destroyer JS Izumo (DDH-183) and destroyer JS samidars (DD-106) of the First Surface Unit of the JMSDF Indo-Pacific Deployment 2023 (IPD23) mission conducted tactical exercises near Manila with the US Navy littoral combat ship USS mobile phone, mobile phone (LCS-26), Royal Australian Navy (RAN) amphibious assault ship HMAS. canberra (L02) and frigate HMAS Anzac (FFH150), Philippine Navy BRP landing platform dock Davao del Sur (LD-602) and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft.

“The ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) shares fundamental principles [sic] with the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) and Japan agrees with him. “The JMSDF will strengthen the Japan-US alliance to deter and counter threats, further improve interoperability with the Royal Australian Navy, and improve bilateral defense cooperation with the Philippine Navy to promote regional peace and stability and maintain maritime order ensure,” said RADM. Takahiro Nishiyama, commander of the IPD23 First Surface Unit and commander of the Escort Flotilla 1, in the press release.

Izumo And samidars will make a port call in Manila from Friday to August 31, according to a second JMSDF announcement.

The Australian ships and aircraft are in the Philippines as part of the Philippine-Australian joint amphibious exercise, Exercise Alon, also supported by MV-22 Ospreys for US Marine Force Rotational – Darwin (MFR-D). The exercise is also part of the Australian Defense Force (ADF) Indo-Pacific Endeavor 2023 (IPE23) operation, an annual operational activity in the region. This year’s IPE takes place from June to October and, unlike previous years, is now divided into outreach and engagement activities for individual countries. In recent years, the ADF deployed a joint task force centered around one of the two Canberra-class amphibious ships. The task force would continually travel from country to country to conduct engagement activities.

Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of Defense Richard Marles and Philippine Secretary of Defense Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr. observed the exercises in Zambales, Philippines on Friday along with Marles and Theodoro.

“We recommitted to planning bilateral joint patrols in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea and other areas of mutual interest,” Marles said in a statement released on Friday. “We are committed to expanding some of our bilateral activities in the future to include other countries committed to maintaining peace and security in our region.”

The Philippines designated the closest region of the South China Sea, including Philippine territorial waters and its exclusive economic zone, as the West Philippine Sea.

In a joint press conference with Teodoro, Marles stated that the joint patrols would be conducted soon and that both the ADF and the Armed Forces of the Philippines were involved. “And we are very pleased with the progress of these talks and expect that the first of these joint patrols will take place in the not too distant future,” Marles said at the meeting.

Teodoro was asked about the presence of a US Navy P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) during the Philippines’ successful resupply mission to the stranded BRP tank on Tuesday Sierra Madre (LS-67) at Second Thomas Shoal in the disputed Spratly Islands. Chinese Coast Guard and Chinese Maritime Militia ships attempted to block supplies.

“The role of the United States in these resupply operations was that they ensured freedom of navigation, they conducted freedom of navigation operations on their own, uncoordinated with us and which they do on a regular basis anyway,” Teodoro said, but admitted this The US flight could have been coordinated between the two countries at a level below him.

Embarked media on the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels escorting the supply boats photographed a US Navy P-8, identification number 756, flying overhead along with what is believed to be a Chinese UAV during the mission. The Chinese Coast Guard on Wednesday released video of the encounter, captured from the air.

JSDF image of a drone flight near Taiwan

Japan’s Defense Ministry’s Joint Staff Office (JSO) issued a press release on Friday, saying two Chinese H-6 bombers flew in this morning from the East China Sea, the Miyako Strait between Okinawa and Miyako Island traversed, then flown southeast and then turned around. They then turned around, passed the Miyako Strait again and entered the East China Sea. In response, fighters from the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) Southwest Air District were withdrawn.

The JSO issued further communications on Friday. One said that from morning to afternoon that day, a Chinese BZK-005 UAV flew in from the East China Sea, flew between Taiwan and Yonaguni Island, then circumnavigated the Philippine Sea east of Taiwan before entering East China sea ​​had returned. JASDF Southwest Air District fighters were withdrawn. Another release on Friday provided updates on the movements of the Russian surveillance vessel Kurily (208), which had sailed south off the northeast coast of the main island of Honshu from Sunday to Friday and continued to sail southwest off Chiba Prefecture. The press release states that the multipurpose support ships JS suo (AMS-4302) and JS Enshu (AMS-4305) along with JMSDF P-3C Orions, MPAs from Fleet Air Wing Fleet Air Wing 2 based at JMSDF Hachinohe Air Base, shadowed the Russian ship.

The JMSDF announced on Friday that the destroyer JS Maya (179) conducted tactical exercises with the carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) Monday through Friday east of Okinawa to south of the Kanto region. Reagan docked at its home port of Yokosuka on Friday morning. social media photos by Japanese ship observers show how the carrier docks with an empty flight deck.

Earlier Monday in Australia, the nations of the Quad Alliance — Australia, India, Japan and the United States — completed the Malabar 2023 Quad exercise, which began Aug. 11. The US stationed the destroyer USS Rafael Peralta (DDG-115), USNS Fleet Oiler Rappahannock (T-AO-204), a submarine, P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and special forces, while India participated with the destroyer INS Calcutta (D63) and frigate INS Sahyadri (F49). Host country Australia used the destroyer HMAS Brisbane (DDG-41), Landing Ship HMAS Choules (L100), a submarine, special forces and RAAF F-35 Lightning II fighters and P-8A Poseidon’s MPA. Japan deployed the destroyer JS Shiranui (DD-120) along with a dedicated boarding unit of the JMSDF.


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Amanda Walker

Global events enthusiast. Reporting with a critical lens to offer readers a deeper perspective.

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