The United States and Japan began a joint military exercise on Monday as the two allies continue to face growing Chinese aggression in the Pacific, Reuters reported.
The operation, known as “Keen Sword,” is held every two years, according to Reuters. The exercise will involve numerous warships, aircraft, and tens of thousands of troops from both countries from now until Nov. 5. (RELATED: Chinese President Tells Military To Focus Their Energy On ‘Preparing For War’)
This year’s iteration of the event will be the first to feature electronic and cyber warfare training, per Reuters. It will also be the first under new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who took the place of Shinzo Abe last month.
Combatting Chinese influence in the region has been a priority so far for Suga, who met with leaders from Vietnam and Indonesia earlier this month. “The security situation around Japan has become increasingly severe. This gives us the opportunity to demonstrate the strength of the Japan-U.S. alliance,” General Koji Yamazaki told Reuters.
TODAY: @INDOPACOM and units from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force began exercise Keen Sword 21, designed to enhance ???????? ???????? combat readiness and interoperability while strengthening bilateral relationships and a #FreeAndOpenIndoPacific.
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) October 26, 2020
Japan was also a part of this month’s meeting of the “Quad,” a joint effort by the United States, Japan, Australia and India aimed at counteracting Chinese expansionism in the Pacific. China has said its intentions in the area are peaceful and has decried the Quad as a “mini-NATO” aimed against it, per Reuters.
Japan’s biggest naval vessel, the aircraft carrier Kaga, is being renovated to be able to carry F-35 fighters within the next year, according to Reuters. The Kaga was joined by the USS Ronald Reagan for training exercises on Monday, Reuters says.