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The Defense Ministry announced Friday that the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s largest warship, the Izumo helicopter carrier, wrapped up three days of joint drills with the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the disputed South China Sea.

The exercises, which ended Thursday and also saw the MSDF destroyer Sazanami take part, were an apparent show of naval force in the strategic waters. Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea, where it has built up and militarized a string of man-made islands, stoking concern among regional claimants.

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