Tuesday, June 7, 2016

U.S., Japan, India to hold major naval drill in Western Pacific

The Hyūga-class helicopter destroyer is a type of helicopter carrier built for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). The specifications of the Hyūga class are comparable to light aircraft carriers
A fleet of U.S., Japanese and Indian warships will hold a large-scale joint naval exercise over eight days from Friday in the Western Pacific, close to a Japanese island chain, part of which China claims. The drill, dubbed Malabar, is an annual event between the U.S. and India, and Japan is joining it this year for the first time since 2007, Japan's Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

Among the Japanese warships, which will practice submarine hunting and anti-aircraft defense, will be the Hyuga, one of the country's three new helicopter carriers. Last year, the drill was held in the Bay of Bengal near India.
Japan's southwestern island chain, which hosts the biggest concentration of U.S. military personnel in Asia, blocks China's east coast access to the Western Pacific. Japan's military is reinforcing the islands with radar stations and anti-ship missile batteries.

Lying around 220 km (137 miles) west of Taiwan they are known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. They are controlled by Tokyo and claimed by Beijing.
China said it is hopeful Tokyo will not “provoke confrontation” and “heighten tensions” in the region.

The Boa Diao surrounded by Japan Coast Guard patrol boats in 2014
In November 2013, China announced the creation of a new air-defence identification zone, which would require any aircraft in the zone - which covers the islands - to comply with rules laid down by Beijing. Taiwan also claims the islands.
Uotsuri island, Minamikojima and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku