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Japan, US, Australia to carry out joint naval drills in South China Sea —report

Japan, US, Australia to carry out joint naval drills in South China Sea —report

TOKYO - Japan, US and Australia will hold joint naval drills in the South China Sea on Wednesday, Kyodo news agency reported on Friday citing multiple unnamed officials.

Based on the report, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force would send its “largest destroyer” called the Izumo. The Royal Australian Navy and the US Navy, meanwhile, were expected to deploy their amphibious assault ships Canberra and America, respectively.

The Philippine forces also reportedly "canceled" their participation in the joint drill since the three other nations' aircraft “are too large to land on the decks of Philippine warships,” said the report.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez earlier said meetings were set to possibly include Australia and Japan in planned joint South China Sea patrols with the US.

"They would like to join in for joint patrols to make sure that there's the code of conduct and there's freedom of navigation," Romualdez told Reuters.

In June, the national security advisers of Japan, the United States, and the Philippines also discussed conducting combined maritime activities, including joint naval exercises, in Indo-Pacific waters to support freedom of navigation and the broader rules-based order.

Japan, Australia, and the US were among the countries that recognized the 2016 arbitration ruling.

It was in 2013 when the Philippine government sued China before an international arbitral tribunal in The Hague. It ruled in favor of the Philippines in July 2016 when it junked China's nine-dash claim over the South China Sea.

China, however, rejected the Philippines' call to comply with the ruling, calling the decision "illegal and invalid.” —Reuters/with Giselle Ombay/KG, GMA Integrated News