Vietnam Time

9/2/2019 7:24:29 PM

ASEAN-US naval exercise kicks off in Thailand

Navies from Vietnam and other member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are participating in the first ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise (AUMX) that is taking place from September 2-6 in the Gulf of Thailand and off Vietnam’s southern Ca Mau province.

At the opening ceremony. Photo: VNA

The opening ceremony was jointly presided over by Thailand’s Vice Admiral Charoenpol Kumrasee, chief-of-staff of the Royal Thai Fleet, and Rear Admiral Kenneth Whitesell, deputy commander of the US Pacific Fleet.

In all, AUMX includes eight warships and four aircraft from seven countries, and 1,250 personnel representing all ten ASEAN member states and the US.

Naval ship No. 18 of the Vietnamese Navy headed for the exercise on September 1 and is scheduled to reach the site of exercise on September 3.

Meanwhile, the US has sent the littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8) to the exercise.

The first Asean-US Maritime Exercise (AUMX) between ten Southeast Asian countries and Washington will last for five days. Photo: AFP/Lillian SUWANRUMPHA

The AUMX is co-led by the US and the Royal Thai Navy and will be preceded with pre-sail activities in Thailand, Singapore and Brunei, followed by sea drills in international waters in the Gulf of Thailand as well as the East Sea. The exercise will conclude in Singapore, according to Bangkok Post.

"AUMX builds greater maritime security on the strength of ASEAN, the strength of our navy-to-navy bonds, and the strength of our shared belief in a free and open Indo-Pacific," said RAdm Joey Tynch, who oversees the US Navy's security cooperation in Southeast Asia.


Officers of the US Navy and maritime forces of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) participate in the inauguration ceremony of ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise in Sattahip, Thailand, on Sep. 2, 2019. AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe

VAdm Charoenpol said the multilateral drill, the first of its kind, is aimed to improve maritime cooperation and enhance security in the region.

RAdm Whitesell said the collective training reflects a stronger regional military partnership.

Among the US Navy assets brought in for the exercise are a guided-missile destroyer, three helicopters and a Poseidon surveillance aircraft.

AUMX was first proposed at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) in 2017 and confirmed during the 12th ADMM in October 2018./.

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