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United States, South Korean, and Japanese military forces have cooperated in a trilateral missile defense exercise — the first of its kind in years.
The drills began Aug. 8 and ran through Sunday, boasting the first formal cooperation of its kind since December 2017.
The exercise served to reassure the allied nations of their individual and joint commitments to mutual defense. Notably, the cooperation between South Korea and Japan could serve to ease cultural tensions that have lingered in recent years.
“When Korea-Japan relations move toward a common future and when the mission of our times align, based on our shared universal values, it will also help us solve the historical problems that exist between our two countries,” said South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol.
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The exercise serves as an answer to similar Chinese military exercises conducted in recent weeks.
The People’s Liberation Army conducted a variety of drills and launched multiple test missiles in the aftermath of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island, which they say violated the long-standing One China Policy.
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The U.S. Air Force launched an ICBM with a test modification for re-entry last week in an effort to demonstrate the military’s nuclear capabilities.
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The launch occurred at 12:49 a.m. PT and was part of a “routine and periodic” practice. The test was originally postponed Aug. 4 over tensions with China over House Speaker Pelosi’s visit.
The Air Force said it has conducted similar tests more than 300 times before and stressed that the test was not “the result of current world events.”