Japan, US, and South Korea to Hold Trilateral Maritime Exercise in Sea of Japan to Ensure Stability and Security

In early June, the Japan Coast Guard will hold its first-ever trilateral coast guard exercise with the coast guards of the United States and South Korea in the Sea of Japan. The planned drill reflects the three countries’ commitment to enhance interoperability between their patrol boats, guard ships, and airplanes through search-and-rescue operation drills and communication exercises. The exercise will also help to ensure the maritime stability and security of the sea area under the rule of law, particularly amid the continued threat of North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and China’s increasing aggressive military activities in the East and South China Seas.

According to sources close to the government, the trilateral exercise is scheduled to take place off the coast of Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture, on June 6. As part of the exercise, patrol boats and drones of the U.S. Coast Guard will join the Japan-South Korea joint search-and-rescue drills that the two countries have conducted since 2007.

The coast guards of Japan, the United States, and South Korea have been making arrangements to conduct the trilateral exercise following the establishment of a new trilateral maritime security cooperation framework agreed upon by the three countries’ leaders at a trilateral summit at Camp David in August. In addition, the coast guards of these countries have also signed a first letter of intent earlier this month confirming that they will work to strengthen cooperation.

The trilateral exercise will not only be held regularly in the future but will also work towards deepening cooperation in the maritime domain awareness (MDA) initiative. This initiative will help Southeast Asian and Pacific island nations strengthen their maritime security capabilities and detect suspicious ships by aggregating maritime data.

In a related example of multilateral cooperation, the coast guards of Japan, the United States, and the Philippines held their first trilateral maritime exercise off the coast of Mariveles in the northern Philippines, on the South China Sea, in June 2023. The drill happened amid tensions over China’s territorial claims and its military build-up in the South China Sea.

The trilateral exercise is in response to China and Russia increasing their confrontational stances against the United States and Europe. The three countries are keen to counteract this by ensuring the maritime stability and security of the sea area under the rule of law. These efforts not only increase regional security but also promote the ongoing partnerships and alliances between countries.

In conclusion, the joint exercise between the coast guards of Japan, the United States, and South Korea is an important step towards promoting regional security and stability. It reflects the three countries’ commitment to ensuring the security of the sea area under the rule of law and enhancing interoperability between their patrol boats, guard ships, and airplanes. The exercise also provides a significant opportunity to deepen cooperation in the maritime domain awareness initiative and help Southeast Asian and Pacific island nations strengthen their maritime security capabilities. Moreover, it is a testament to the ongoing partnerships and alliances between countries in the face of increasing geopolitical tensions in the region

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