• Kyodo

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The Maritime Self-Defense Force will participate in the U.S.-led multinational RIMPAC naval exercises off Hawaii later this month — an event that will include China for the first time.

However, no drills are being planned in which the Japanese and Chinese maritime forces will take part at the same time, the MSDF said on Tuesday.

Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, the MSDF chief of staff, lauded China’s decision to take part in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, which will run from June 26 to Aug. 1.

“I want to welcome very much China’s entry into a multinational framework” even though Japan-China ties have been troubled, he said at a news conference.

The MSDF’s Aegis-equipped Kirishima and helicopter-equipped Ise, as well as three P-3C Orion antisubmarine aircraft will take part in the exercises. All together, 740 Japanese personnel will participate.