The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan conducts military drills during Keen Sword, a joint field-training exercise involving U.S. military, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel and Royal Canadian Navy, on Saturday. Photo: REUTERS/Tim Kelly
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U.S. carrier leads warships in biggest ever Japan defense war game

34 Comments
By Tim Kelly

U.S. fighter jets darted over the Western Pacific on Saturday as the nuclear powered USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier joined Japanese destroyers and a Canadian warship for the biggest combat readiness war game ever staged in and around Japan.

Japan and the United States have mobilized 57,000 sailors, marines and airmen for the biennial Keen Sword exercise, 11,000 more than in 2016, with simulated air combat, amphibious landings and ballistic missile defense drills. Japan's contingent of 47,000 personnel represents a fifth of the nation's armed forces.

"We are here to stabilize, and preserve our capability should it be needed. Exercises like Keen Sword are exactly the kind of thing we need to do," Rear Admiral Karl Thomas, the commander of the carrier strike group, said during a press briefing in the Reagan's focsle as F-18 fighter jets catapulted off the flight deck above him.

Eight other ships joined the carrier for anti-submarine warfare drills in a show of force in waters that Washington and Tokyo fear will increasingly come under Beijing's influence.

"The U.S.-Japan alliance is essential for stability in this region and the wider Indo Pacific," Rear Admiral Hiroshi Egawa, the commander of the Japanese ships said aboard the Reagan

Based in Yokosuka near Tokyo, it is the biggest U.S. warship in Asia, with a crew of 5,000 sailors and around 90 F-18 Super Hornets fighters.

A Canadian naval supply ship is also taking part in Keen Sword along with the frigate that sailed with the Reagan on Saturday.

Canadian participation is taking a bilateral drill which began in 1986 "into the realm of multilateral exercises," Canada's defence attache in Japan, Captain Hugues Canuel said in Tokyo. Participation in Keen Sword, he added, reflects Canada's desire to have a military presence in Asia.

Canada isn't the only western nation looking to take a bigger security role in the region. Britain and France are also sending more ships as China's military presence in the South China Sea grows and its influence over the Indo Pacific and its key trade routes expands.

British, French, Australian and South Korean observers will also monitor Keen Sword, which began Monday and ends on Thursday.

Growing foreign interest in Asian security, including North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, coincides with greater Japanese willingness to back up its regional diplomacy with a show of military muscle.

Tokyo this year sent its biggest warship, the Kaga helicopter carrier, on a two-month tour of the Indo Pacific, including flag-waving stops in the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Singapore.

The 248-meter-long Maritime Self Defense Force ship and its two destroyer escorts also conducted drills with a Japanese submarine in the contested South China Sea.

At the same time, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has engaged China in dialogue to reduce tension between their militaries in the East China Sea and to increase economic cooperation between Asia's two leading economies.

Amid a background of trade friction with Washington, Abe last month traveled to Beijing, the first such trip by a Japanese leader in seven years, for talks with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. Abe told them that China and Japan shared responsibility for regional security, including tackling North Korean.

Japan, however, still views China as a potentially much larger and more challenging foe than Pyongyang as its expanding navy consolidates control of the South China Sea and ventures deeper into the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean.

Beijing this year plans to spend 1.11 trillion yuan ($160 billion) on its armed forces, more than three times as much as Japan and about a third of what the U.S. pays for a military that helps defend the Japanese islands.

Keen Sword "remains an expression of the commitment of like minded allies and partners. To really see what we can do in terms of demonstrating advanced capabilities together to ensure peace and stability in the Indo Pacific," Chief of U.S. Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said on Thursday in Australia during a telephone press briefing.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

34 Comments
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I wish this had happened when we had a hard time with Senkaku. Obama did not do anything. U.S. Forces on Okinawa did not play any deterrant role for Japan. They were just sitting and drinking beer. We welcome Trump. I want Trump further press China and they withdraw from the islands where they built their military airports.

4 ( +19 / -15 )

Beijing this year plans to spend 1.11 trillion yuan ($160 billion) on its armed forces, more than three times as much as Japan and about a third of what the U.S. pays for a military that helps defend the Japanese islands.

The Chinese dictatorship is bent on military expansion and regional domination.

10 ( +17 / -7 )

The current world order has been a time of peace throughout mans warring history, in my opinion. I’m with the USA and Japan.

9 ( +17 / -8 )

Time of peace? Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Mali, Somalia etc. tell them.

2 ( +14 / -12 )

"The current world order has been a time of peace throughout mans warring history, in my opinion. I’m with the USA and Japan." whats in your morning coffee mate?ww1/ww2/vietnam/laos/korea oh and the list above. peace my a$$

2 ( +15 / -13 )

World leaders are just chimps with big hats.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Beijing this year plans to spend 1.11 trillion yuan ($160 billion) on its armed forces, more than three times as much as Japan

Outrageous. Communist China should be spending that money on hospitals, schools and infrastructure for their hundreds of millions of poor people, not on trying to dominate Asia Pacific. USA is the only superpower that can be trusted in the region.

Thank you to the men of USS Ronald Regan for protecting freedom and Democracy.

9 ( +20 / -11 )

Communist China

China is not communist.

-16 ( +4 / -20 )

Goodlucktoyou

You would lose this debate if taken in context, with a map, a history book and a pen and paper.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Goodlucktoyou

Not many historians would disagree with me.

Post WWII has been a time of peace especially in traditionally bloody areas and the entire world has grown wealthy(er). This is the world order the US and its (flawed) democracy had led. Russia led a challenge as China will too. The UN and NATO are specifically established organisations to this order

Your comment about conflicts is easy to make but you wouldnt win the debate if taken in context, a history book, and a pen and paper.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

China expansion poses the biggest threat to the stability of the entire Asian region. The members of SEATO need to band together more than ever to ensure China realizes their intent to keep the sealaned open and to maintain the stability of the entire region.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

U.S. carrier leads warships in biggest ever Japan defense war game - Headline

Maritime and air defense exercises aimed mainly against Chicom threats and aggression, as in artificial military islands constructed during the Obama era.

And to answer the question of a poster here: There's no need to butter it up. Communist China. The Red Army.

Of course, closet commies fear the label "communism" and will be in denial and always resort to euphemisms, as in "the far left", "liberals", "socialists", or the preferred "progressives". 

Communists, by one name or other, try to pivot to the center and disguise themselves as moderates to be elected to office. We did fall for it many times, and even once elected as president an anti-American radical leftist by words and deeds.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

OsanAmerican

The Chinese dictatorship is bent on military expansion and regional domination.

Despite recently closing hundreds of bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States still maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries, that doesn't include aircraft carries that can travel anywhere in the world.

38 of those US basses are in japan.

CHINA has 38 foriegn military basses.

And Russia has 14.

800 compared to 38? I'd say that ship has already sailed, no country on earth has expanded their military and regional dominance than America. I'm not denying China doesn't wish to do so but at last look at it with some perspective!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Since the debate of what China is as a government is on....heres Wiki’s definition.

Chinese communism

Marxism–Leninism

Socialism with Chinese characteristics

Chinese unification

To an outsider I’d say thats pretty spot on.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

China does not follow the tenets of Communism, and therefore it is not Communist. This is not a matter of opinion, it is something that can be quantified through a comparison of these tenets with the actions of China that do not follow them.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

China is Communist!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

China is Communist!

Well, the CPP tries to pretend that China is communist, and they've brainwashed a lot of people into it. But if you accept their claims, you'd also have to accept that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (AKA North Korea) is really democratic.

Personally, I'd rather address reality, than push the line that the CPP tries to push. I've never understood why non-Chinese want to help the Chinese push their propaganda.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

USA annual military spending is certainly many times more than $160 Billion

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Chinese dictatorship is bent on military expansion and regional domination.

They’ll get it.

I remember an interesting retort to the question of whether Communist China is communist - is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea democratic?

What was the observation about the Holy Roman Empire? Not holy, not Roman and not an Empire.

I think people of a certain age and political persuasion like the word communist because it carries sinister connotations.

I think corrupt dictatorship does the job when describing China.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

it seems the Canadian ships deployed to Keen Sword are frigate HMCS Calgary and tanker M/V Asterix 

https://navaltoday.com/2018/10/15/canadian-ships-to-join-us-japanese-drill-keen-sword-for-first-time-ever/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think corrupt dictatorship does the job when describing China.

It does. And it’s accurate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

War games?

Displaying "strength"?

How about talks? I remember I once was told: "If you don't have the ability to communicate, you use your fists".

Reminds me of something the present "POTUS" has said in a similar way.

Concerning China: why not call it Chinese Communist, since the "real" communist is just a model.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@theperson. So millions and millions of refugees from Africa and Mid East risking death and rape and slavery to get to Europe are not doing it to escape war and massacres, but just for a nice day out. Ever been to Rwanda, DRC, Kashmir, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Western Sahara, Algeria? Forgot Eritrea and Ethiopia.

The world is a very dangerous place unless you live in a white only gated community in California.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

China does not follow the tenets of Communism, and therefore it is not Communist. This is not a matter of opinion, it is something that can be quantified through a comparison of these tenets with the actions of China that do not follow them.

The public ownership of property is the primary tenant of Communism. There is no private property in China therefore China is Communist by definition.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Readers, this ends discussion on whether or not China is communist.

Goodlucktoyou

Whitebarowner

Again, context and a knowledge of history is crucial. You state current conflicts and use that as “proof”.

That is only evidence if my statement was that there is no conflict.

Democracy and capitalism is something that has to be nutured and promoted. It has done well in the past and this former nationaliat nations like Japan and many many more have converted and joined in this philosophy.

My “gated community” viewpoint?? Really man? You know what? I have lived in gated communities with machine guns in Karachi. I know the meaning, I dont just spew metaphors. Do you?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What it takes to stop China !!..

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It took China 40 years to lift 1 billion people out of poverty. Japan can't do the same thing in 1 billions years. Of course China is the biggest threat to Japan, all Japan wished was poor neighbours, since 150 years ago.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

There are some China advocates who argue that the US is the largest military power in the world and maintains the greatest strategic and regional dominance. And by that reasoning, the Chinese dictatorship is entitled to aspire to the same.

There is an enormous difference between the two. The US military presence throughout the world is at the invitation of the host nations through SOFA agreements. They are the result of alliances that have been formed starting at the end of WWII and they can be terminated by either party. They bear no aspect of occupying or making a claim to ownership.

In contrast, China's military exist solely to act as the muscle for the CCP, are are seen that way by the entire world. Perpetually threatening Taiwan militarily, making a claim for vast stretches of ocean, creating and militarizing artificial islands, refusing to recognize or abide by international rulings which affect their sovereignty, all add up to a China that is not trusted by the world. And rightly so.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

OssanAmerica, trust is earned, not self-claimed. Is Japan trusted by neighbours ? Of course it is so obvious.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What does Japan fear most ? The answer is Peace. That is what China will do, asymmetrically.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Strangerland, the reality is that China is going to be stronger, bigger, happier, richer.

That unfortunately is something I can't really disagree with.

What can Japan do ?

Stand as an example of democracy and freedom in the shadow of the Chinese dictatorial oligarchy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Strangerland, what democracy ? Japanese can't even say who she loves, let alone who she wants to be married. Just do what I tell you to do, and this the order.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

War is not a game!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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