AP

US, UK join Pacific allies in Fijian military exercise

Sep 20, 2022, 9:12 AM | Updated: Sep 21, 2022, 4:39 am

In this photo provided by U.S. Navy, a New Zealand soldier looks down his training descent rope dur...

In this photo provided by U.S. Navy, a New Zealand soldier looks down his training descent rope during Exercise Cartwheel at Nausori Highlands Training Area, Fiji, on Sept. 18, 2022. A military exercise in Fiji involving the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand ends this week as the traditional allies counter China’s growing influence in the region.(Staff Sgt. Timothy Gray/U.S.Navy via AP)

(Staff Sgt. Timothy Gray/U.S.Navy via AP)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A military exercise in Fiji involving the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand ends this week as the traditional allies counter China’s growing influence in the region.

The 11-day Exercise Cartwheel in Fiji began Sept. 12 and ends Friday, the U.S. Embassy in the Fijian capital, Suva, said Wednesday in an email.

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Victor Lange said the name of the exercise originated from Operation Cartwheel during World War II, in which the U.S. fought alongside the militaries of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji — then a British colony — to neutralize the Japanese base at Rabaul in Papua New Guinea.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China had “no objection to normal defense cooperation among the countries concerned.”

“But the cooperation should not be directed at third parties,” Wang told reporters in Beijing.

The United States has promised greater engagement with the South Pacific after China and the Solomon Islands signed a bilateral security treaty in May that has raised concerns of a Chinese naval base being established in the region.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris told a South Pacific leaders’ summit in Suva in July that the United States will open new embassies in Tonga and Kiribati. She also flagged a tripling of U.S. funding for fisheries assistance to $60 million.

Australia’s new government, elected in May, is also taking steps to increase its engagement with its island neighbors.

The government plans to establish an Australia-Pacific Defense School to train neighboring armies in response to China’s potential military presence on the Solomon Islands.

Australians were reminded Wednesday of World War II coming to their shores when divers found what appeared to be an unexploded bomb off the coast of the northern city of Darwin. Darwin became the first target of Japanese bombers on the Australian mainland in a devastating air raid on Feb. 19, 1942.

A 250-meter (820-foot) exclusion zone has been established in Darwin Harbor until the Defense Department removes the suspected bomb.

___

This story corrects day of the week.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

moore redmond washington...

Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Redmond couple challenging foreign income tax

The court ruled in the case of Charles and Kathleen Moore, of Redmond, Washington after they previously challenged a $15,000 tax bill.

3 days ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

5 days ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

6 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

6 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

7 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

8 days ago

US, UK join Pacific allies in Fijian military exercise