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France-led drills in Pacific targeting China aborted

12 May 2017 15:28

 

A French-led amphibious force has postponed joint military exercises in the Pacific with forces from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan after the failure of one of its vessels.

A US commander said the joint military forces had to postpone their first ever collective beach attack drills in the Western Pacific on Friday after a landing craft failed to operate.

“From our initial assessment, it has damage to one of its two propellers,” said the US Navy’s Captain Jeff Grimes.

The drills were meant to practice amphibious landings, delivering forces by helicopter, and urban patrols.

It was not clear when they would be relaunched.

This file photo shows members of the British Royal Navy embarking on and disembarking from the HMS Ocean amphibious assault ship and helicopter carrier. (Via AFP)

Prior to the abortive military drills, it was announced that the exercises were to be a show of military might to China.

France, the US, and Britain are looking to counter what they see as China’s expanding power in the region by forging closer military ties with Japan, which is home to tens of thousands of US forces.

China, on the other side, considers the military activities of extra-regional countries as working to stir tensions in the region.

A major source of tensions has been the South China Sea. China claims sovereignty over most of the territories in the mineral-rich sea, which is also an important international waterway. The US and other Western countries seek to counter such claims by taking the side of China’s rival regional claimants.

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