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.
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.