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    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, right, speaks to Captain Kyle P. Higgins onboard the USS Blue Ridge as she arrives in Sydney Harbour, Australia, Friday, July 3, 2015

    Let the War Games Begin: US, Australia, Japan Kick Off Military Exercise

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    The United States and Australia started a joint military exercise on Sunday. The training called ‘Talisman Sabre’, is set to go on for two weeks in the states of Northern Territory and Queensland.

    The United States and Australia started a joint military exercise on Sunday, with Japan taking part for the first time amid tensions with China over the territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

    The training, called ‘Talisman Sabre’, is set to go on for two weeks in the states of Northern Territory and Queensland. It involves 30,000 personnel from the US and Australia practicing operations at sea, in the air and on land.

    Around 40 personnel from the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) will join the American contingent, while more than 500 troops from New Zealand were also to take part in the exercise.

    “It’s a very important relationship and right now we are facing quite significant challenges in many parts of the world but particularly in the Middle East,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday, media reported.

    Australia has also improved its relationship with Japan in recent years, and last July Abbott described Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as “a very, very close friend,” during a state visit to Canberra.

    The military training comes amid tensions with China over the South China Sea islands’ reclamation.

    Beijing continuously rejected the US’ ongoing criticism of China’s land reclamation activity in the South China Sea, saying it is just exercising its sovereignty.

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    Tags:
    military drills, South China Sea island, dispute, ground military operation, training mission, Tony Abbott, Australia, Japan, United States
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