Japan and the US launched their biggest ever joint military exercise yesterday in a strident display of firepower featuring tens of thousands of personnel, hundreds of aircraft and 60 warships.
The “Keen Sword” drills were planned before North Korea’s deadly artillery barrage of a South Korean island last week, but come just days after the US and South Korea conducted smaller exercises aimed at deterring Pyongyang.
The drills are being held to mark the 50th anniversary of the Japanese-US alliance, Japanese defense ministry officials said, and last until Friday next week.
The Pacific allies are for the first time being joined by South Korean military observers, in a bid by Tokyo to demonstrate solidarity among the three countries at a time of high tension in the region.
The massive exercise features about 44,000 military personnel, 60 warships and 400 aircraft from both sides in a drill off Japan’s southern islands, close to the coast of South Korea and in the Sea of Japan.
The US nuclear-powered George Washington aircraft carrier, which also took part in the US-South Korean exercises, joined Japan’s Aegis missile-equipped destroyers and F-15 jet fighters as heavy wind and rain lashed the first day. The joint drills will be much bigger than the naval exercise staged by Washington and Seoul.
Japan, which relies heavily on the US for its security under its pacifist constitution, has been on high alert since the attack.
China’s newly assertive posture on territorial issues this year has also been a cause for concern for Tokyo and other Asian nations, in a region where Washington is seen as an important counterbalance.
The maneuvers include integrated air and missile defense, base security, close air support, live-fire training, maritime defense and search and rescue.
The inclusion of South Korean observers follows Japan’s sending of observers to joint US-South Korean military exercises in July, held after the sinking of the South Korean Cheonan naval vessel.
An international investigation blamed North Korea for the sinking, which left 46 South Korean sailors dead. Beijing has hit back at the military maneuvers, which it sees as taking place in its backyard, -saying to talk with the nuclear-armed regime is better than to “brandish weapons.”
China complained it was being unfairly criticized for urging dialogue and suggested talks with the North would be more helpful than military exercises, as South Korea also readied for new live-fire drills next week.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted