By Aaron Tu and William Hetherington / Journalist, Editor
The United States and Japan focusing their defense efforts southward in response to the threat posed by the Chinese military are helpful in maintaining security in the Taiwan Strait, the Defense and Research Institute said. national security.
The United States and China have stepped up military exercises in the Western Pacific in recent months, with the United States conducting the largest Eastern Shield exercise with Japan in 35 years last month, the institute said. in a report on Friday.
China’s Hainan Maritime Security Administration announced last week that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy will conduct naval exercises from Friday last week to today off the southeast coast of China. Hainan Island.
The Chinese newspaper Global Times later quoted an anonymous source as saying that the exercises would cover an area of around 90,000 km2 and that they would likely involve the use of medium-range missiles.
The Chinese government has not confirmed this.
Separate exercises that were scheduled for July 16-21 off the coast of China’s Zhejiang province have been canceled due to the arrival of Typhoon In-fa.
The Ministry of National Defense said the exercises off Hainan were only several hundred meters from Taiwan’s territory, and that it was monitoring them and was ready to respond to any eventuality.
Meanwhile, the full-scale exercise in the United States began on Tuesday last week and will continue until Monday next week. The exercise involves five fleets deployed in 17 time zones, and includes several aircraft carriers and a maritime expeditionary force.
The large-scale exercise comes just a month after the joint Eastern Shield exercises, the institute said, citing a statement by Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi.
“This year’s Eastern Shield involved 1,700 US troops and 3,000 Japanese Self-Defense Forces ground troops,” he said. “Besides the participation of the three branches of the military, this year also involved exercises in space warfare, electronic warfare and operations on the electromagnetic spectrum. “
Although no specific opponent was named, the posture and direction of the exercises made it clear that they were aimed at responding to China as a potential opponent, the institute said.
“The exercises were clearly aimed at improving the ability of both countries to respond to threats to the First Island Chain. They were designed as a show of force to deter China, ”he said.
Orient Shield was originally conceived as a response to the threat of a possible invasion of Japan by the Soviet Union, and was expanded to include responses to a post-Cold War North Korea, the institute said.
However, this year his goal was to protect the first island chain and threats to stability in the Taiwan Strait, he said.
Shifting defense attention from the United States and Japan to the region could help maintain security in the Taiwan Strait and the two countries could also help Taiwan in the event of a conflict with China, he said. -he declares.
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