Japan and Britain have held an anti-piracy military drill in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia in East Africa, Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said Tuesday.
The drill, conducted on Sunday and Monday, involved the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer Setogiri and P-3C patrol planes as well as a strike group of the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy's largest warship, Kishi said.
U.S. and Dutch naval vessels accompanying the British strike group also participated in the exercise, according to the defense minister. It marked the first time for the MSDF to hold a joint drill with the Queen Elizabeth.
"Together with Britain, the United States and the Netherlands, we have demonstrated our willingness and capability to ensure the safety of sea traffic that is the cornerstone of global prosperity," Kishi told a press conference Tuesday.
"We will continue to conduct joint exercises with the strike group in a strategic manner," he added.
The strike group left Britain in May for the western Pacific to showcase London's increased engagement in the Indo-Pacific in the face of Beijing's active presence in the East and South China seas.
During the joint antipiracy drill, the participating units engaged in replenishment at sea and photographing vessels, according to the Japanese Defense Ministry.
Japan has dispatched the destroyer Setogiri and P-3C aircraft for an anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden.