‘Asean, US naval drills to help stabilize region’

Admiral John Richardson TMT

The proposed joint naval exercises between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the United States will provide “completeness” and would help stabilize the region, Admiral John Richardson, US Navy chief of naval operations, said.

Admiral John Richardson

He said the exercises are still being conceptualized by the Asean countries and Washington.

“We look forward to engaging in this exercise with Asean. I think it provides…completeness in terms of Asean engagement in the region, as Asean hopes to engage with a number of partners in the region, though it may not be member states,” Richardson said in a telephonic conference recently.

He described the proposed drills as a “testament” of the Asean leadership, adding that it can boost the stability in the whole region.

During the Asean Defense Ministers’ Meeting in Singapore last month, Asean defense chiefs and US Defense Secretary James Mattis agreed to hold naval drills next year.

The Department of National Defense had said details will be discussed next year in Thailand, which will host the Asean summit.

Members of the Asean are the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei.

Canada joins Japan-US drills

Richardson also highlighted the ongoing military exercises between the US and Japan, called “Keen Sword.”

For the first time, he said, Canada joined the drills, which was participated in by 47,000 Japanese military personnel and 9,500 US troops.

“The nature of the exercise remains an expression of the commitment of like-minded allies and partners,” Richardson said.

The same unit from Japan had participated in the annual Kamandag exercises between the Philippine Marine Corps and the US Marines in Subic last month.