Eight warships, four aircraft and more than a thousand personnel from the U. Lasting five days and starting at the Sattahip Naval Base in Thailand and ending in Singapore, the drills come amid soaring tensions between Washington and Beijing, especially over the South China Sea. But those tensions were likely to be balanced out by the ASEAN nations, some of which have taken a softer approach in their dealings with Beijing. Joey Tynch, who oversees the U. Neither Japan nor the U. Vice Adm.
US and 10 ASEAN navies begin first joint military exercises in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asian Powers Ranked by Military Strength
But this week, they appear to be doing just that — by holding their first joint naval drills with the United States Navy. The drills, which will take place partly in the South China Sea, a site of geopolitical tension, began on Monday. They were not expected to focus on lethal maneuvers, or to take place in contested waters where China operates military bases. But the maneuvers follow similar exercises held last year by China and the member Association of Southeast Asian Nations in an undisputed area of the sea, making them a riposte of sorts to Beijing. During a summer of heightened tensions over territorial claims, plus an escalating trade war between China and the United States , the drills are being closely watched as the latest move in a high-stakes geopolitical chess match between the superpowers and their shared regional allies. The United States Navy declined to comment on the record ahead of the drills, citing operational sensitivities.
Warships and aircraft ready for first US-ASEAN maritime drills
Eight warships, four aircraft and more than a thousand personnel from the US, Southeast Asian countries join the drill. Eight warships, four aircraft and more than 1, personnel from the United States and 10 Southeast Asian countries will join maritime drills kicking off on Monday, as part of a joint exercise extending into the flashpoint South China Sea. The drills come at a time of stepped-up US engagement in the region and tensions between Beijing and Southeast Asian nations over the South China Sea, parts of which are claimed by Brunei , Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. The joint drills have come under criticism for looping in Myanmar 's Navy in a rare show of inclusion despite Washington imposing sanctions on top army brass over the Rohingya crisis. All 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will take part in the exercises which include the boarding of target vessels to simulate search and seizure.
Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. China and the United States want greater sway over Southeast Asia, a giant region where governments generally avoid picking sides. Southeast Asian nations look to both, but especially China, for economic ties and increasingly to the United States for security as China pressures some of the countries over their maritime sovereignty claims.