The US and Britain have conducted their first joint naval drills in the disputed South China Sea since China built island bases there, the two navies said on Wednesday, as Washington seeks help from allies to keep pressure on Beijing.
A US Navy guided missile destroyer the USS McCampbell, which is based in Japan, and a Royal Navy frigate, HMS Argyll, which is on a tour of Asia, conducted communication drills and other exercises from Friday to Wednesday “to address common security priorities”, the US Navy said in a press release.
“There’s no record in recent history of operations together, specifically in the South China Sea,” a US Navy spokesman said.
No such joint drills have been conducted there since at least 2010, he added.
The exercise comes after another British warship, the 22,000 ton HMS Albion, sailed close to the Paracel island chain claimed by China in the South China Sea in August.