U.S., Japan to send large scale "gift" to Chinese President

US and Japan have prepared available "gift" for Chinese president Xi Jinping with the large scale military drill which China has requested to postpone.

US troops engaged in joint US-Japan amphibious assault training
US troops engaged in joint US-Japan amphibious assault training in May 2012

On June 7-8, in California, Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold talk with U.S. President Barack Obama. Also on June 10, at the request of Tokyo, paratroopers of the U.S. and Japan will practice landings on the islands which were assumed occupation. The scenario of the exercise is to deploy the American- Japanese "shield" to offensive against "sword" of China. Japan is very interested in protecting the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. China is strengthening the activities of patrol boats and naval forces in the waters around the islands. The islands are under Japanese control, but China is considered the country's territory.

Japan will participate at an “unprecedented” level in a large-scale U.S.-led military exercise in California later this month, as it seeks to further strengthen coordination with its main ally and its ability to mount an amphibious assault aimed at capturing isolated island territory.

The move is likely to anger China considering the ongoing tensions between Tokyo and Beijing over disputed islands in the East China Sea, a dispute that has shaken both economic and political ties. It also shortly after leaders from the U.S and China meet for a high-stakes bilateral summit later this week, where territorial issues are expected to be part of the discussions.

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces will take part for the first time in the periodic multi-nation exercise to be held in California from mid-June. In the exercise, troops will engage in amphibious assault training with U.S. marines intended to enhance their island-capturing and other capabilities.

Experts say the joint-exercise represents a departure in scale from previous drills involving only Japanese ground troops working with U.S. marines.

Japan has sent three warships, 730 Maritime Self-Defense Force troops, 250 ground troops and seven combat helicopters to take part in the amphibious war drill with the U.S. Marines off Camp Pendleton, California. The Dawn Blitz 2013 exercise will also involve five personnel from the Air Self-Defense Force.

A public affairs official at the SDF’s Joint Staff Office said this will be the first time ground troops will operate from Japanese warships in a drill so far from Japan. The SDF will be participating from June 10 to June 26, he said.

“The exercise is aimed at improving the integrated operation capabilities of the SDF and maintaining and improving bilateral capabilities with the U.S. military,” the spokesman said.

Col. Grant Newsham, U.S. Marine liaison officer with the GSDF, described the joint training as “historic.”

In a smaller exercise last September, a 40-person GSDF platoon sailed to Guam to receive training on amphibious military tactics from U.S. Marines.

“Now, eight months later we have three MSDF vessels, two of them amphibious ships, with 250 GSDF troops with their equipment and helicopters aboard, sailing across the Pacific Ocean to southern California to train with each other and with the U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy in a much more complex amphibious exercise. This is unprecedented,” Col. Newsham said. He added that troops will practice combat skills useful for defending Japanese territory.

But experts say Japan’s participation could trigger a backlash from China as Tokyo strengthens its capability to protect isolated islands. Ties between the two nations have soured over the ownership of a set of islands in the East China Sea that the Japanese call the Senkaku and China calls the Diaoyu.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will also be engaging in a two-day informal “shirtsleeves summit” in California starting Friday, where the two are expected to discuss contentious issues including North Korea, cyber-security and maritime disputes in Asia. While the meeting will allow the two to focus on establishing personal rapport, it remains to be seen how Beijing would react to the military exercise.

Tetsuo Kotani, a maritime security specialist at The Japan Institute of International Affairs, said the exercise was “the first step” for Japan to assume its own amphibious landing capabilities, and China would be concerned of such developments.

“Beijing will likely ask Japan not to engage in activities that could exacerbate regional tensions,” he said. “It’s wary of the deepening security alliance between Japan and the United States.”

Canada and New Zealand will also take part in the exercise.

Kienthuc.net.vn/ WSJ


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