The US military will conduct its first live-fire drill firing Patriot missiles during its first air defense exercise in Palau this June.  This will be the first time that the exercise is done in Palau and the second one fired west of the International Dateline

An estimated 500 to 800 US soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Battalion based in Okinawa will be in Palau this month for the exercise.

Palau National Security Coordinator Jennifer Anson earlier reported that the exercise named Valiant Shield involves all four US military components, army, navy, marines, and airforce,

The report from the US military news source Stars and Stripes said the exercise has been in the planning for over a year and has nothing to do with the Chinese diplomatic movements in the Pacific.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, finishing his 10-day Pacific tour to 8 Pacific Island countries seeking to execute a wide-ranging agreement covering security and law enforcement cooperation, did not include pacific countries that have diplomatic relationships with Taiwan, including Palau and other Micronesian countries.

The military exercise in Palau this June reflects the growing presence of the United States military in the region in recent years and the efforts with its partners, Japan, and Australia to enforce the “Free and Open Indo Pacific” strategy.

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