Al Jazeera English via Wikimedia Commons

As the United States and Japan begin their first joint military exercise since Yoshihide Suga became prime minister of Japan last month, the Commander of U.S. Forces in Japan issued a stern warning to China. Lieutenant General Kevin Schneider stated that the current exercise – Keen Sword 21 – demonstrates the U.S. ability and resolve to deploy forces to “defend the Senkaku Islands” against Chinese threats.

General Schneider said, according to ABS-CBN News:

Our arrival today was simply to demonstrate the ability to move a few people, but the same capability could be used to deploy combat troops to defend the Senkaku Islands or respond to other crises and contingencies.

The Senkaku islands group of uninhabited but strategically located islands near Taiwan, belonging to Japan, but claimed by China, where they are known as the Diaoyus islands. Japan has long complained about Chinese warships sailing near the islands. In a Defense White Paper issued in July, Tokyo referenced China’s “coercive and unilateral actions.”

At the same time in July, General Schneider was equally unwavering in stating U.S. support for Japan conflict with China over the islands when he said the U.S. was “100 percent absolutely steadfast in its commitment to help” Japan.

Schneider accompanied Japan’s top military commander, General Koji Yamazaki, on board the JS Kaga helicopter carrier. The warship is the pride of the Japanese fleet (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force – JMSDF). Officially classified as a multi-purpose operation destroyer, JS Kaga is the second ship in the Izumo class ships.

A planned future conversion will formally turn the ship into Japan’s first post-World War II aircraft carrier, carrying F-35 stealth jet fighters.

While aboard the JS Kaga, Schneider also highlighted recent “malign activities on the part of Beijing” such as the national security law imposed in Hong Kong, Beijing’s military build-up in the South China Sea, and the PLA’s threats and bullying of Taiwan.

CNN noted that the 10-day Keen Sword 21 exercise involves some 37,000 Japanese troops along with 9,000 Americans, 20 Japanese warships, the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, and 200 Japanese and U.S. aircraft. A Royal Canadian Navy frigate will also take part.

Military drills will also see amphibious landings on islands off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, east of the Senkakus, and for the first time will include cyber and electronic warfare training.


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John
John
26 days ago

Wow, one whole Canadian naval frigate. I wonder if they can spare it – and where oh where is Australia and New Zealand, our purported allied? Definitely NOT in Harm’s Way.

Atil Hun
Atil Hun
26 days ago
Reply to  John

They are in “Covid lockdown” remember? They will help as soon as the PANDEMIC is over…

Jersey Prophet
Jersey Prophet
26 days ago
Reply to  Atil Hun

Gonna be a Looooooong lockdown because the aussies and kiwis could move the goalposts until there’s not a single Covid case before declaring an end to the pandemic.

Robert Polans
Robert Polans
26 days ago

Okay, to me it sounds like a lot of sabre rattling and doing nothing. I’m aware of ‘Peace Through Strength, but there comes a time to show the strength and not just talk. I have47 years as a combat Marine, I’m not just some yahoo who wants a boogaloo, I know one like that. There are many in the Pentagon.

FedUp
FedUp
26 days ago

Why do the Chinese have 20,000 troops in British Columbia just 2 1/2 hours from Seattle?