Aust joins US, France, Japan for drills

Warships from France, Japan, Australia and the United States have held their first ever combined naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal.

Warships from France, Japan, Australia and the United States have held their first ever combined naval exercise in Asian waters, a new show of force from US-led states wary of China's growing power.

The French aircraft carrier, FS Charles de Gaulle, and its escorts were joined in the Bay of Bengal by five other naval vessels, including a Japanese helicopter carrier, US guided missile destroyer and Australian submarine.

They practised formation sailing, live fire drills and search and rescue, according to a news release from the US Seventh Fleet.

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As China's military power grows in the region, the US and Japan are looking to forge stronger defence ties with other countries in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, including France and Britain.

The Japanese carrier, the Izumo, and the US destroyer, the USS William P. Lawrence, last week joined vessels from India and the Philippines for exercises in the South China Sea, most of which China claims.

Those manoeuvres - in waters through which about a third of the world's maritime trade flows - came after two other US warships sailed near islands in the region claimed by China, prompting a protest from Beijing.

China claims almost all of the strategic South China Sea with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam pushing competing claims.


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Published 16 May 2019 at 8:56pm
Source: AAP