The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) arrived at the Japanese port of Sasebo on Friday at the start of the G-7 conference in Hiroshima, according to a Navy statement.
Along with the aircraft carrier also arrived their escort ships made up of the cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) and the destroyers USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93), USS Decatur (DDG-73) and USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60).
The other CSG ships have been operating in the Philippine Sea. At the same time, the Paul Hamilton transited the Strait of Hormuz on Friday with US 5th Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, French Vice-Admiral Emmanuel Slaars, Joint Commander of the French forces deployed to the Indian Ocean and UK Royal Navy Commodore Philip Dennis, commander of the UK Maritime Component on board, according to the US Navy.
The senior commanders’ transit comes as the 5th Fleet and partner nations have increased their naval patrols in the Strait of Hormuz in response to Iran’s recent seizures of merchant’s vessels.
The United Kingdom and Japan signed a new agreement on Thursday, called the “Hiroshima Agreement,” which will strengthen economic, technological and security
collaboration between the two countries, as part of the visit to Japan by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his attendance at the G-7 summit, according to a statement from Sunak’s office. The UK also announced the deployment of the Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group to the Indo-Pacific in 2025.
“The UK will confirm today that its Carrier Strike Group will return to the Indo-Pacific in 2025, following its maiden voyage to the region in 2021. The fleet, comprising an aircraft carrier, its escorts and aircraft, will work alongside the Self-Defense Forces. Japanese and other regional partners to help uphold peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” the statement read. The statement does not specify which aircraft carrier.
The Royal Navy’s second aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales (R09), is undergoing repairs after a propulsion system failure last year, leaving HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) as a replacement. UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told Parliament this week that the Prince of Wales “will be back in full service in the autumn.”
While in Japan, Sunak will confirm new defense cooperation between the UK and Japan, which includes doubling the number of British troops in upcoming joint exercises and agreeing on a formal Consultation Clause whereby the UK and Japan pledge to consult each other on important regional and global security issues and to consider response measures.
The Hiroshima Agreement, signed on Thursday by Sunak and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, declares that both countries “are determined to strengthen the free and open international order based on the rule of law and to uphold the principles of the Charter of United Nations, including respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The UK and Japan also called on China to act as a responsible member of the international community and that both countries were seriously concerned about the situation in the East China Sea and South China Sea and strongly opposed unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion anywhere in the world.
The defense side of the Hiroshima Agreement agreed that the two countries should make full use of the opportunity provided by the Global Combat Air Program to prepare the future of the two countries’ combat air sectors and strengthen the defense industrial base of both through collaboration and shared experience.
Before signing the agreement, Sunak visited the Japanese helicopter destroyer carrier JS Izumo (DDH-183) at the Yokosuka naval base as part of his itinerary and spoke to the media, offering a preview of the Hiroshima Agreement.
During the G-7 summit, the leaders of the Quad association Australia, India, Japan and the US are expected to hold a meeting in place of the canceled Quad summit on May 24 in Australia.
The meeting was canceled because US President Joe Biden canceled his trip to Australia because of ongoing US debt ceiling negotiations. Although Australia and India are not part of the G7, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the G7 summit as guests.
People’s Liberation Army Navy ships finished sailing around Japan on Tuesday, ahead of the G-7 meeting. A PLAN Surface Action Group toured Japan, while a PLAN Dongdiao-class intelligence vessel toured the main islands of Honshu and Kyushu. Meanwhile, the UK announced on Wednesday that it will deploy a Carrier Strike Group (CSG) to the Indo-Pacific in 2025 and sign agreements with Japan to enhance defense cooperation.
On Tuesday, the Japanese Defense Ministry’s Joint Staff Office (JSO) issued a statement stating that the Dongdiao Kaiyangxing (796)-class intelligence vessel had been sighted at 3 a.m. that day sailing to the northwest in an area located 75 northeast of the island of Miyako and had crossed it to enter the East China Sea.
The intelligence vessel was being followed by a P-3C from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) of the 5th Fleet Air Wing based at Naha Air Base, Okinawa.
PLAN vessels routinely navigate in the vicinity of Japan, although they mostly do so in international waters off Japan and using Japanese straits designated as international waterways.
The JSO issues regular reports on the movements of Chinese and Russian military ships and aircraft in the vicinity of Japan and its Exclusive Economic Zones, with naval and air units closely monitoring both countries’ ships and aircraft.