News in Asia Pacific

PLA Navy holds joint live-fire confrontation exercise in Yellow Sea

For the first time, Japan is taking part in major US-Australia military exercises as tensions rise with China over islands in the South China Sea
 
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The US and Australia kicked off a massive joint biennial military exercise on Sunday, with Japan taking part for the first time as tensions with China over territorial rows loom over the drills.

The two-week “Talisman Sabre” exercise in the Northern Territory and Queensland involves 30,000 personnel from the US and Australia practising operations at sea, in the air and on land.

About 40 personnel from Japan’s army – the Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) – will join the American contingent, while more than 500 troops from New Zealand are also involved in the exercise, which concludes on July 21.

“It is a very, very important alliance,” the prime minister, Tony Abbott, said on Friday in Sydney on board the USS Blue Ridge, which is taking part in the exercise, referring to Australia-US ties.