ASIA- WORLD NEWS TOMORROW: Military exercises are held to sharpen the fighting component of a force as well as to test the combat readiness of the armed forces of a country. However, in increasing tensions within the Asian Pacific region military exercises can be seen both as a flexing of muscles as well as that of a threat.Thus with some concern the Chinese have reaffirmed their links with North Korea, shortly after the unsuccessful firing of a missile. To add to this China and Russia have completed a joint naval exercise in the Yellow Sea which was held from 22nd to 27 April 2012.

These can be seen as a growing concern regarding the US presence that is set to increase within the Pacific with the US having set up meetings with top military and government officials, this according to a news report at The Hill.Although the US has officially denied these rumors there remains a strong possibility that the US will require ‘friendly’ ports inwhich to berth should the need arise. The US has maintained a presence in the Philipines that consist of a special operations task force assisting in counter-terrorism against the Abu Sayyef in the south of the island state.

Russia has added its weight to the foray by holding the joint naval exercise in the region, together with its Chinese counterparts.A number of Russian vessels which included their Pacific Flagship, the Varyag, joined a number of Chinese surface vessels as well as two submarines operating from Qingdao. The main of recent years of joint exercises between the two countries hasostensibly been counter-terrorism training.The exercise took place whilst a similar operation was held by the US and its counterparts, that included Australia and South Korea. The area has seen increased activity due to the standoff between the Philipines and China over disputed terrotorial waters, which is not uncommon in the region with a number of lesser islands and even ‘rocks’ being a contest of wills in Asia.

Growing tensions between the Koreas, China and the Philipines as well as China’s continued stance and missile deployment towards Taiwan, may lead to several changes in the political and military environment and see the signing of new pacts or agreements between the regions role-players.

Exclusive for World News Tomorrow by John Ecclestone (Asian Desk: Military Commentator)

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