Japanese Destroyer Escorts Joining USS Carl Vinson in Massive Show of Force
The latest efforts to show North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un what he’s up against include the USS Carl Vinson getting extra protection as it makes its way toward the Korean Peninsula.
The Japan Times reported that Japan’s defense ministry said two Japanese F-15 fighter jets participated in an ongoing exercise Friday involving the carrier strike group and two Japanese destroyers.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force guided-missile destroyer JS Ashigara and the destroyer JS Samidare were seen traveling in the Philippine Sea toward the peninsula for an exercise with South Korea, according to the Boston Herald.
The exercise took reportedly place in waters east of Okinawa. Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force said the exercise was scheduled for Wednesday but was canceled due to bad weather, reported Xinhua Net. The news agency also reported that it was rare to hold military drills with aircraft carriers.
Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said the exercises “would further strengthen the overall deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. alliance, and showcase our country’s commitment and high ability in serving the regional stability.”
An MSDF spokesman told The Japan Times that the MSDF “always looked for opportunities to conduct joint drills with the U.S. Navy, and we consider this good timing,” adding that it was unknown when the drills would wrap up.
The Vinson strike group conducted two exercises with the Japanese navy last month.
Tetsuo Kotani, senior fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs in Tokyo, said the exercises were one of several “flexible deterrent options” aimed at preventing unintentional escalation of the Korean crisis.
This escort, along with the exercises being performed with the MSDF, demonstrates a growing effort to send a message to Kim — one that expresses a united show of strength to fight the North’s repeated aggressive acts.