US Military Holding Massive War Games
Sunday, August 5, 2007 (Pearl Harbour)
The US military expects to amass more than 22,000 troops off the coast of Guam starting on Tuesday for a weeklong exercise involving dozens of ships and hundreds of aircraft.
''The exercise demonstrates to our friends and allies in the Asia-Pacific ... how important the security of the region is to the United States,'' said Navy Captain Matt Loughlin, deputy chief of staff for Task Force 519, the Hawaii-based unit directing the drills.
Last year's exercises coincided with rising tensions over a possible test launch of a North Korean long-range missile, prompting two ships participating in the games to be assigned off the Korean coast to monitor the activity.
US military officials at the time stressed the exercises were not held in response to the North Korean activity and they were not directed at any one nation.
Similarly, officials said this year's war games are not connected in any way to world events or targetted at any country.
The US military also did not invite foreign observers to this year's drill, unlike last year when it hosted observers from 10 countries, including China, India, Japan and Australia.
The 2006 Valiant Shield drill marked the first time the US had invited a Chinese delegation to officially observe US maneuvers in the Pacific. Beijing sent a 10-member delegation headed by an admiral to watch.
Loughlin said hosting the observers was logistically costly, and commanders decided to limit foreign participation during this year's drill and focus on the training.
However, foreign media have been invited again.