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Australia Moves into the South China Sea on Behalf of the ‘Global Rules-Based Order’

Aug. 26, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Australian forces joined units from the U.S., Japan and the Philippines participating in a joint naval exercise in the South China Sea, the Japanese Defense Ministry said Aug. 25, reported Japan Today news site. The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s largest destroyer, Izumo, and destroyer Samidare took part in the drills, the Ministry said. The two Japanese vessels will dock at the Manila port from Aug. 23-Aug. 31, according to the Ministry. The Ministry said in a statement that the purpose of the training is to “strengthen collaboration toward the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

As part of the exercise, Australian and Philippine troops, backed by a handful of U.S. Marines, practiced an amphibious assault on an island off the northwest coast of the Philippines. Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. and visiting Australian Minister for Defense Richard Marles watched the mock beach landings, assaults and helicopter insertion of forces on a Philippine naval base with 1,200 Australian soldiers, 560 Philippine soldiers and 120 U.S. marines participating, reported AP.

The Philippine military claimed that China was not an imaginary target of the combat drills, which were the largest so far between Australia and the Philippines. “It is an important aspect of how we prepare for any eventuality and considering that there have been so many events that attest to the volatility of the region,” Marcos said in a news conference after the combat drills.

Marles said in a separate news conference with Philippine Minister of Defense Gilberto Teodoro, Jr., that the military drills were aimed at promoting the rule of law and peace in the region. “The message that we want to convey to the region and to the world from an exercise of this kind is that we are two countries committed to the global rules-based order,” Marles said. “Peace is maintained through the protection of the global rules-based order and its functionality around the world and, in truth, around the world today, we see it under pressure.”

After meeting on the sidelines of the combat drills, Marles and Teodoro said in a joint statement that they would pursue plans for joint patrols in the South China Sea. “We committed to expanding some of our bilateral activities in the future to include other countries committed to sustaining peace and security in our region,” the two said.

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