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Security Brief: PACOM Week of November 22, 2021

Week of Monday, November 22, 2021 | Issue 33

Matthew Dean, PACOM Team

Senkaku Islands Dispute[1]

Date: November 19 - 30, 2021

Location: Tanegashima Island, Japan

Parties involved: People’s Republic of China; Japan; Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF); US Marine Corps; US Navy; Royal Australian Navy; German Navy; Royal Canadian Navy

The event: From November 19 to November 30, 2021, Japan conducted a large-scale joint military exercise known as 03JX. The exercise consisted of amphibious, anti-ship strike, and air and missile defense to airborne operations. For the first time, JMSDF and JGSDF conducted live drills and command post drills, as well as the first-ever anti-submarine warfare exercises in the South China Sea in coordination with the US Marine Corps, US Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, Royal Canadian Navy and German Navy.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • China likely views this joint exercise as a hostile act and will likely respond with its own military exercises. China will likely strengthen its naval presence surrounding its artificially-constructed archipelagos in the South China Sea via its State-sponsored fishing fleet as well as military vessels such as submarines.

  • China will likely analyze the joint-exercise capabilities and modify their naval combat fleet, fighter jets, and ground force tactical response in military drills to counter a combined joint-force operation.

  • China may seek to coordinate a reactive simulated exercise with its military ally, Russia, likely to enhance Sino-Russian interoperability, balance against Japanese and US combined joint forces, conduct maritime maneuvers, and communicate strategies and tactical responses in real-time.

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[2] Japan Self-Defense Force Conducts Large-Scale Joint Exercise, Naval News, Nov 2021,



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