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Confrontation about joint exercise over ocean

by Jolene Toves

Guam - Since World War II Guam has gained the reputation of being a strategic military location the value of our island can be seen not only with the presence of both U.S. Navy, Air Force and the impending Marines relocation but it is also demonstrated by the recent training exercise near Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

It was on Monday two B-52 bombers took off from Andersen Air Force Base as part of the Joint U.S.-Japan Exercise, flying over a stretch of ocean claimed by China without notifying Beijing. Although the Senkaku Islands are claimed by Japan, China lays claim to much of the sea, declaring it as an air defense zone, a zone which includes the Senkaku Islands.

According to the Chinese Defense Ministry the zone was created to "guard against potential air threats," however this declaration is a change of the status quo, and represents a challenge towards Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe.

Prime Minister Abe confronted China stating he would not recognize the Chinese air zone over the East China Sea or the Senkakus.

The tensions unfolding between China, Japan, and the U.S. brings concerns to our islands shores as Guam is a strategic point to defend our nations interest and the interests of our allies in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo in a release stated "the strategic bomber presence in Guam is an important component of U.S. defense capabilities in our region." According to Bordallo this exercise demonstrates Guam's ability to deter aggression and our resolve to defend our allies.

Meanwhile Secretary of State John Kerry in a release stated the United States is deeply concerned about China's announcement that they've established an "East China Sea air defense identification zone." He warned china to exercise caution and restraint adding the U.S. is consulting with Japan and other affected parties throughout the region.

He urged China to not implement its threat to take action against aircraft that do not identify themselves or obey orders from Beijing. Adding the U.S. hopes to see a more collaborative and less confrontational future in the Pacific.

Meanwhile Congresswoman Bordallo does stress that it is important that any territorial disputes in the region be resolved by diplomacy and peaceful means.

Despite tensions the U.S. and Japan continue with the exercise as the Navy arrived in force Tuesday off the coast of Japan. 

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