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Article: Largest ever joint US-Australia military drill begins

U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, take part in an amphibious landing

Largest ever joint US-Australia military drill begins

PHOTO CAPTION: Illustrative photo — U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, take part in an amphibious landing during Exercise Talisman Sabre 21 in Ingham, Queensland, Australia, July 30, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alyssa Chuluda via U.S. Defense Visual Information Distribution Service)



SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia and the U.S. began two weeks of war games involving more than 30,000 troops and participants from 11 other countries on Friday, in a show of force and unity at a time when China has emerged as an increasingly assertive power in the Indo-Pacific.

Held every two years, the first Talisman Sabre joint military exercises were conducted in 2005, and this year's drills will be the largest yet.

"The most important message that China can take from this exercise and anything that our allies and partners do together, is that we are extremely tied by the core values that exist amongst our many nations," U.S. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said during an opening ceremony on a naval vessel in Sydney.

The exercises, taking place in various locations across Australia, will include mock land and air combat, as well as amphibious landings.

The exercises demonstrated Australia's "commitment to working with our international partners to maintain the security and stability of our region," Defence Minister Richard Marles said at the same ceremony.

This year will see Germany participate for the first time, with 210 paratroopers and marines taking part as the European nation bolsters its presence in the Indo-Pacific.

Personnel from India, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand will also attend as observers.

Australia is deepening security cooperation with the U.S. and regional partners like Japan and India at the same time as the centre-left Labor government works to repair trade ties with China that have been strained by disputes over trade, investment and security.

A Chinese ship is currently off the east coast of Australia and is expected to shadow the exercises, according to an Australian defence official.

(Reporting by Lewis Jackson; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)



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