• The trilateral passage is planned to conclude today.
    The trilateral passage is planned to conclude today. Defence

Australia, Japan and the US are currently conducting a trilateral passage in the Philippine Sea on the way to participate in Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) in Hawaii.

An ADF Joint Task Group has joined the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Akizuki-class destroyer JS Teruzuki.

With HMA Ships Canberra, Hobart, Stuart, Arunta and Sirius taking part, the activity includes replenishment at sea, aviation operations, maritime manoeuvres and communications drills.

Commander of the Australian Joint Task Group, Commodore Michael Harris, said the opportunity to work alongside Japan and the US was invaluable.

“Maintaining security and safety at sea requires navies to be able to cooperate seamlessly,” CDRE Harris said.

“The combined activities between our navies demonstrates a high degree of interoperability and capability between Australia, Japan and the US.”

Captain Sakano Yusuke, Commander of Japan’s Escort Division 4, said strengthening cooperation with the US Navy and RAN is vitally important for Japan and contributes to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

“The experience in this exercise will give us tactical and operational advantages and make our friendships stronger, in addition to our regular joint exercises with both like-minded navies,” CAPT Sakano said.

US Navy Captain Russ Caldwell, Commanding Officer USS Antietam, said the US Navy routinely exercised with regional partners, showing their shared commitment to regional stability and a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“The relationships we've developed enable us to meet at sea and immediately operate at an advanced level. This highlights the enduring nature of our alliances with Japan and Australia,” CAPT Caldwell said.

"The US is fortunate to routinely operate alongside its allies across the Indo-Pacific and coordinated operations like these reinforce our mutual commitment to international maritime norms and promoting regional stability.”

The trilateral passage is planned to conclude today.

The Joint Task Group left Darwin on 5 July 2020 to begin a regional deployment to Southeast Asia and Hawaii.

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