US, Thailand launched 2017 Cobra Gold military exercises; China wraps up exercise with three warships in South China Sea; U.S. carrier group patrols in tense South China Sea; Japanese war ships dock at Cambodian port…
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Three Chinese warships on February 17th wrapped up a week of scheduled training exercises in the South China Sea, state media said, shortly after China's sole aircraft carrier tested its weapons in the disputed region. The flotilla of warships, including a destroyer that can launch guided missiles, had been conducting drills since February 10th and were now sailing to the eastern India Ocean and the Western Pacific, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The drills were "without an arranged script" and "as close as possible to real combat", military affairs expert Yin Zhuo told the state broadcaster China Central Television. Regular exercises by the Chinese navy in the high seas were an "unchangeable trend", Yin said, though he added that China's long-range naval capabilities were not sufficient to secure its interests in open waters.
On the sidelines of G20 Foreign Ministers' meeting, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with his Indonesia’s counterpart Retno Marsudi. Wang Yi said that this year, bilateral relations enter into a new 25 years, and the ASEAN will also embrace its 50th anniversary. China is willing to work with relevant ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, to focus on cooperation, eliminate interference and promote the upgrade of China-ASEAN relations. On the basis of fully implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), China is willing to accelerate the negotiation of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).
A United States on February 18th aircraft carrier strike group has begun patrols in the South China Sea. The strike group's commander, Rear Admiral James Kilby, said that weeks of training in the Pacific had improved the group's effectiveness and readiness. "We are looking forward to demonstrating those capabilities while building upon existing strong relationships with our allies, partners and friends in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," he was quoted as saying by the Navy News Service. China's Foreign Ministry on February 15th warned Washington against challenging its sovereignty in the South China Sea.
Three Japanese Marine Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) war ships docked at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port of Cambodia on February 13th for a four-day visit. The vessels, the Makinami, Asayuki and Shimayuki, carried nearly 600 crewmembers. The visit aims to boost relations between the two countries. In 2016, three Japanese navy ships visited Cambodia from February 17 – 20.
The United States and Thailand kicked off the 2017 iteration of the annual Cobra Gold military exercises, Asia’s largest multinational drill. Cobra Gold 2017, the 36th iteration of the military exercise, is officially taking place from February 14th to 24th. This year’s exercise will feature 29 countries either directly participating in or observing. As is customary, it will be comprised of three primary events: a staff exercise which includes a senior leader seminar; a field training exercise that includes a variety of training events to strengthen regional relationships and enhance interoperability; and humanitarian civic assistance projects in Thai communities.
The Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN) Endurance-class Landing Ship Tank (LST), RSS Endurance, led by Lieutenant Colonel Noel Chen Xin Yi, arrived at Cam Ranh Bay on March 17th to start a five-day port call. The port call marks the first receipt of a foreign warship at the Cam Ranh International Port, located in Cam Ranh Bay, since its opening last week in a ceremony attended by Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang. During their stay, there will be a ship visit hosted for the 81 members of the crew from the Vietnam People's Navy and Vietnamese officials. Both navies will also conduct a passage exercise comprising communication drills.
China and Britain held their second high-level security dialogue on February 17th, with both sides agreeing to strengthen cooperation in security and law enforcement. During the dialogue, the two sides exchanged views on the fight against terrorism, extremism, organized crime and the protection of cyber security. The two sides fully recognized the cooperative achievements since the first security dialogue, which was held last June. They agreed that facing the grim and complicated international security situation, China and Britain should further implement the important consensus reached by the Chinese and British leaders on deepening cooperation in security and law enforcement. China and Britain should expand their cooperative areas and enrich their cooperative style, so as to build a “golden age” for law enforcement and security cooperation, the delegates said.
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