Date: 26 June 2023

U.S. and China Held Joint Drills Despite the Recent Escalation

On the June 5-8, 36 countries including US, China, Russia, India, and Pakistan participated in the 4th “Komodo” Multilateral Naval Exercise 2023 in Sulawesi – Indonesia.

SOURCE: KOMPAS/RENY SRI AYU

The drills occurred right after so-called “unsafe interaction” in the Taiwan Strait, in which a Chinese warship crossed in front of a U.S. destroyer in the crucial waterway. Moreover, it is interesting to note the involvement of Russia’s fleet despite the ongoing war in Ukraine and the Indian and Pakistan navies, which is known for mutual distrust.
 
This year was the fourth edition of the “Komodo” drill, held in waters between Borneo and Sulawesi. Indonesia’s navy, which is the initiator of the exercise, highlighted that routine “Komodo drills” were a “non-war” exercise aiming to “strengthen relationships between the navies” of 36 countries.
 
The Chinese navy engage its destroyer Zhanjiang and frigate Xuchang, both equipped with guided missiles, in the exercise. The name of the American ship has not been officially announced.
 
Through the drill, Indonesia, which leads ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations), is trying to become the presumed mediator between China and the U.S. In addition, the event took place the day after the Asia security summit, during which Taiwan and the South China Sea issues were discussed, together with an ongoing war in Ukraine.
 
Despite the tense situation in the South China Sea, joint drills involving both the U.S., China and even Russia show some stability in the region.

 

Szymon Polewka is a student of international relations at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, specializing in the history of international relations, the Eurasian region, DACHL countries, intercultural relations, and the energy sector. He is currently on a scholarship at the University of Bremen. He has gained experience organizing the 2020 Economic Forum in Karpacz and numerous youth and student associations, such as AIESEC or Koło Naukowe Wyzwań Zielonego Ładu.
 
Sources:

1. Blanchard B., Chen L., US Navy shows Chinese warship’s ‘unsafe interaction’ near Taiwan, Reuters, June 5, 2023
https://www.reuters.com/world/us-navy-releases-video-chinese-warships-unsafe-interaction-near-taiwan-2023-06-05/

2. Rachman J., Indonesia hosts great-power rivals China, US in rare joint naval exercises, South China Morning Post, June 5, 2023
https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3222952/indonesia-host-great-power-rivals-china-us-rare-joint-naval-exercises?module=perpetual_scroll_0&pgtype=article&campaign=3222952

3. Zhang A., China to join Indonesia’s multilateral naval drills despite rising tension, Reuters, May 31, 2023
https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/china-join-indonesias-multilateral-naval-drills-despite-rising-tension-2023-05-31/

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