Related Topics: Maritime Security, Naval Exercises, ASEAN
The first US-ASEAN Maritime Exercise (AUMX) was officially opened with a ceremony at the Royal Thai Fleet headquarters at Chon Buri’s Sattahip district, Thailand.
- The Exercise will last for five days, starting at the Sattahip Naval Base in Thailand and ending in Singapore.
- Co-led by the S. and Royal Thai navies, the exercises will stretch into “international waters in Southeast Asia, including the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea” before concluding in Singapore.
- Eight warships, four aircraft and more than a thousand personnel from the U.S. and ten Southeast Asian countries have joined the maritime drills.
AUMX builds greater maritime security on the strength of ASEAN, the strength of navy-to-navy bonds, and the strength of shared belief in a free and open Indo-Pacific.
- The drills come at a time of stepped-up U.S. engagement in the region and tensions between China and Southeast Asian nations over the South China Sea, parts of which are claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
- China claims the majority of the South China Sea, often invoking its so-called nine-dash line as a supposed historic justification to the waters, which are a key global shipping route.
The joint drills have come under criticism for looping in Myanmar’s Navy in a rare show of inclusion despite US imposing sanctions on the top military leaders of Myanmar over the Rohingya crisis.
[Source: The Hindu, cfr.org]