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《TAIPEI TIMES》 Japan-US hold military drills to counter China


A formation of aircraft from the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier conduct a flyover past a flotilla, including the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, right, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer JS Ise, center and the Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Daniel Inouye, left, during a three-day maritime exercise between the US and Japan in the Philippine Sea, between Okinawa and Taiwan, on Wednesday last week.
Photo: AFP

A formation of aircraft from the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier conduct a flyover past a flotilla, including the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, right, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer JS Ise, center and the Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Daniel Inouye, left, during a three-day maritime exercise between the US and Japan in the Philippine Sea, between Okinawa and Taiwan, on Wednesday last week. Photo: AFP

2024/02/06 03:00

By Liu Tzu-hsuan / Staff reporter

Japan and the US are conducting joint military exercises with China as a hypothetical enemy for the first time, Japanese media on Sunday cited Tokyo officials as saying.

The Japan Self-Defense Forces and the US military set a possible Taiwan contingency as the main scenario for their highest-level military exercise Keen Edge, which began on Thursday last week and is scheduled to end on Thursday, Kyodo News reported.

Keen Edge is a biennial command post training drill in which Japanese and US military employ computer simulations to practice responses in the event of a crisis or contingency, the US Indo-Pacific Command said.

Japanese General Yoshihide Yoshida, the head of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, told a news conference on Jan. 25 that Japan and the US “did not envision a particular country or region” for the exercise, the Japan Times reported.

However, Kyodo News cited “multiple government officials” as saying that China was the hypothetical enemy.

Compared with past exercises, which used tentative names for hypothetical enemies, the current exercise is conducted under a much more concrete assumption, it said.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense is believed to have classified the scenario as a specially designated secret protected by Japan’s State Secrecy Law, it said.

Amid growing concerns that China would invade Taiwan within the next few years, naming a hypothetical enemy indicated a strong sense of urgency shared by Japan and the US, it said.

In previous exercises, Japan and the US used maps that slightly differed from the topography of actual countries to “avoid a backlash in the event the plans were leaked,” but switched to unaltered maps in the current exercise, the Japan Times reported.

Japan and the US have drawn up several joint operation plans in preparation for possible contingencies, with a draft envisioning a Taiwan contingency being completed at the end of last year, Kyodo News said.

The two sides are said to finalize the drafted plan by the end of this year based on the results of the current exercise, it said.

Troops are expected to carry out the plan during the field training exercise Keen Sword next year to verify its efficacy, it said.

新聞來源:TAIPEI TIMES

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