As at least 5,000 troops from as many as 14 countries participate in military exercises hosted by Indonesia, a United States senior military commander expressed on Friday the US’s commitment to preventing conflict and war around Asia, Reuters reported.
“The destabilising actions by the PRC [People’s Republic of China] as it applied to the threatening activities and actions against Taiwan is exactly what we are trying to avoid,” said Admiral John Aquilino, Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command.
Conducted amidst an increasingly boiling-hot situation in East Asia following US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan that came to be despite Beijing’s outrage, the annual Super Garuda Shield exercises began this week bringing together, as shown by the Indonesian military’s numbers, at least 5,000 troops from 14 countries.
The drills are “significantly larger in scope and scale than previous exercises,” the US army said.
But as Major General Stephen G. Smith, the man directing operations on the ground in the exercise, told reporters earlier in Jakarta on August 5, the drill should not be seen as a response to any tensions.
“This exercise is not a threat or should not be viewed as a threat to anybody, anywhere. This is a purely military-to-military exercise,” he said.
In the same vein, Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces Andika Perkasa stressed that the Super Garuda Shield was a regular event, has been held 16 times already, and was not a response to China’s recent military exercises in the Taiwan Strait.
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