Asia Minute: U.S. Military Regionally Active Beyond RIMPAC

Aug 20, 2020

The Rim of the Pacific military exercises are underway this week and next week in the waters around Honolulu. The event known as RIMPAC is scaled back in size and scale from its original plans, but it’s also not the only military exercise going on in the Asia Pacific.

Exercises, drills and international interactions among allies are a routine part of military life. And much of that continues, despite concerns about Covid-19.

This week in the East China Sea, the United States and Japan carried out four days of combat training — which also stretched over to the nearby Philippine Sea. The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier led the way for the U.S. Navy, while the Japanese side featured a destroyer.

In the air, there were three U.S. B-1B bombers from the Air Force, 15 U-S fighter jets, and other aircraft from the Marine Corps and the Navy, as well as 20 Air Self-Defense fighter jets from Japan.

Other exercises have had at least some impact from the Covid-19 pandemic.

South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reports the start of one set of joint military drills was postponed for two days this week — after a single South Korean army officer tested positive for the virus. Those exercises will continue through next week, but they have been scaled back from original plans.

Yonhap says they will not involve forces based in the United States, because of restrictions on the travel of U.S. military personnel to South Korea.