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Thread: #US Marines ‘remind #China of America’s military edge’ with Asia-Pacific drills - US Marines have conducted airfield- and island-seizure drills in the East and #SouthChinaSea scmp.com/news/china/mil…
US Marines have conducted airfield- and island-seizure drills in the East and South China seas in what observers say is meant to remind Beijing of US military supremacy in the Asia-Pacific.
The 11-day naval drills were conducted near the Philippines and around the Japanese island of Okinawa by Okinawa-based US marine expeditionary units, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit said.
Observers said the operations were meant as a warning to Beijing that the US military could carry out amphibious campaigns far from home if Washington needed to intervene in territorial disputes between China and America’s allies in the region.
The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and Amphibious Squadron 11 conducted joint weapons drills from their Wasp Amphibious Ready Group ships from August 9-19, the Okinawa-based marine unit said in a statement.
The activity took place in the Philippine & East China seas and around an American naval base in Japan, it said.
The unit’s Amphibious Reconnaissance Platoon also performed a reconnaissance and surveillance mission through a high-altitude, low-opening parachute jump onto Okinawa.
China has a territory dispute with Japan over Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan, in the East China Sea, while both Beijing and Manila have put in claims on the Scarborough Shoal – also known in China as Huangyan Dao – in the South China Sea.
“It is a clear reminder to China of US military supremacy despite the narrowing of gaps in military capability in recent years,” Ni said. “The message is that the US military can still take China-controlled South China Sea features in high-intensity conflict.”
The statement did not say whether the Philippine navy and Japanese maritime self-defence force took part in the drills. But Hong Kong-based military commentator Song Zhongping said the US government would call on its two allies to observe the exercises.
“Whether Washington will intervene in territorial disputes between China and the Philippines as well as China and Japan, the American [military] has used [these drills] to strengthen its island-capture and airfield seizure capabilities in unfamiliar waters and areas,” Song said.
“To show its close relationship with and commitments to Manila and Tokyo, the Americans would invite the two allies to watch the drills. That could also be a good time to sell their amphibious warships and new model aircraft to Japan.”
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