US initiating trilateral cooperation in Asia-Pacific and beyond

Posted on : 2012-06-18 15:35 KST Modified on : 2012-06-18 15:35 KST
New exercises bring together historical rivals South Korean and Japan
 USN Commander
USN Commander

By Kwon Tae-ho, Washington correspondent

On June 15, US Pacific Command commander Samuel Locklear commented on plans for joint naval exercises between South Korea, the US and Japan, saying there was nothing surprising or unnatural about Korea training with Japan.

At a US Department of Defense press conference, Locklear said that South Korea and Japan were key allies of the US in the Asia-Pacific region, he thought the citizens of both countries and their neighbors would understand. This appears to have been an indirect rebuttal of the negative response shown recently by the Chinese government to the coming tripartite naval exercises.

The US and South Korean navies along with Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force will conduct joint military exercises, including search and rescue and naval blockades, off the south coast of Jeju Island on June 21 and 22. From June 23-25, joint South Korean-US naval exercises, including the US aircraft carrier George Washington, will take place on the West Sea (also called the Yellow Sea).

Locklear also said that the three countries would develop a closer relationship through the coming exercise and that the US would help provide an opportunity for South Korea and Japan to cooperate more closely, and that the US was expanding trilateral cooperation (with Korea and Japan). He said the US is seeking multilateral cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region in both the East China Sea and South China Sea, as well as beyond Northeast Asia. He emphasized that the coming exercise should be regarded as part of the US’s “engagement” in Northeast Asia.


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