HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — The Latest on military exercises in Guam (all times local):
Amphibious landing exercises at the U.S. Pacific island of Guam have been indefinitely postponed after a French landing craft ran aground.
Joint Region Marianas Chief of Staff Capt. Jeff Grimes told reporters Friday he didn’t know when the drills would resume.
U.S. Naval Base Guam spokesman Jeff Landis says a French catamaran landing craft ran aground just offshore. He says the vessel didn’t hit coral or spill any fuel. No one was injured.
The exercises involving the U.S., U.K., France and Japan were expected to begin Friday.
The drills were designed to show support for the free passage of vessels in international waters, an issue that has come to the fore amid concerns China will restrict access to the South China Sea.
Amphibious landing exercises at the U.S. Pacific island of Guam are delayed after a French landing craft ran aground just offshore.
U.S. Naval Base Guam spokesman Jeff Landis says a French catamaran landing craft ran aground as the drills were getting underway Friday.
He says the troops will review maps and procedures before attempting again in the afternoon. The landing is meant to be a rehearsal for a drill at Tinian island on Saturday.
Landis says the vessel didn’t hit coral or spill any fuel. No one was injured.
Exercises involving the U.S., U.K., France and Japan are starting in Guam amid concerns China will restrict international access to the South China Sea.
The troops will practice amphibious landings, delivering forces by helicopter and urban patrols during a week of drills.
5 a.m. Friday
The top Republican and Democrat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee have written to President Donald Trump to express concern that the U.S. has not conducted freedom of navigation operations since October 2016.
The letter from Republican Sen. Bob Corker, Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin and five other senators supported a recent assessment by the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific that China is militarizing the South China Sea and is continuing a “methodical strategy” to control it.
The letter, dated Wednesday and obtained by The Associated Press, urged the administration to “routinely exercise” freedom of navigation and overflight. The senators described the South China Sea as critical to U.S. national security interests and to peace in the Asia-Pacific.
5:30 p.m. Thursday
Troops from the U.S., Japan and two European nations are gathering on remote U.S. islands in the Pacific for drills they say will show support for the free passage of vessels in international waters amid fears China could restrict movement in the South China Sea.
The drills around Guam and Tinian may also send a message to North Korea about the breadth of its allies and the U.S. commitment to the region. Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea spiked last month after Pyongyang launched a ballistic missile and the U.S. sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the region.
The drills are being led by France and include the United Kingdom. The troops will practice amphibious landings, delivering forces by helicopter and urban patrols.
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