U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) joined Japan’s Akizuki-class destroyer JS Suzutsuki (DD 117) to conduct integrated operations in the East China Sea, Aug. 15, as part of ongoing shared commitments to regional stability through cooperation. Representing the strength of the two nation’s 60-year alliance, the cooperation between Mustin and Suzutsuki is one of many such occasions this year where the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) have operated together.
Taiwan English News reported that Taiwan and China dispatched warships to monitor the passage, with Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) ending a type 052D guided missile destroyer and Taiwanese Republic of China Navy (ROCN) dispatching a Cheng Kung class guided-missile frigate. The Arleigh Burke-class Aegis missile destroyer USS Mustin sailed through the Taiwan Strait Tuesday after completing exercises in the East China Sea.
Previous integrated operations this year include USS America (LHA 6) with JS Kunisaki in January; four Destroyer Squadron 15 ships with JS Suzunami and Sawagiri in February; USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) with JS Terazuki in April and again with JS Kashima and Shimayuki in June; the USS Reagan Carrier Strike Group with JS Teruzuki during a trilateral exercise in July; and a mine countermeasure exercise involving USS Pioneer (MCM 9), USS Patriot (MCM 7), and JS Uraga and Bungo also in July.
“We share an enduring commitment to international rules-based order,” said Cmdr. Todd Penrod, commanding officer, USS Mustin. “Our alliance remains strong, thanks to the close and consistent engagements through integrated operations such as these, which reinforce international norms and stability.”
“Throughout the exercise, we strengthened interoperability at a tactical level,” said, Cmdr. SOMA Mika, commanding officer, JS Suzutsuki, “Our strong bond contributes to promoting the Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”
Throughout their cooperation, Suzutsuki and Mustin operated and trained together conducting integrated helicopter operations, multi-domain tactical training, as well as communication and formation drills. This training strengthened combined integration efforts in support of international norms that foster peace and stability. Professional integrated engagements allow regional allies the opportunity to build upon existing strong relationships, and reinforce the international rules-based order.
The United States remains committed to working with regional allies and partners to protect the rights, freedoms, and lawful use of the seas by all states. Exercises and operations stand for a free and open Indo-Pacific, which the United States has supported, alongside its allies and partners for more than 70 years. Mustin is underway conducting operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific, while assigned to DESRON-15, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal surface force.