The Marine Rotational Force-Southeast Asia, also known as MRF-SEA, was created to better foster relations with military allies in Southeast Asia as the U.S. focuses its attention toward the Pacific and China's increasingly aggressive presence there.
MRF-SEA began its deployment last month to the Philippines, which is mired in a dispute with Beijing over fishing territory. On Monday, Marines and sailors started a two-week training operation with the Philippine, Malaysian and Indonesian militaries as part of what was termed “security cooperation engagements.”
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“Leading Marine Rotational Force-Southeast Asia while shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners, inside their respective command posts, provides a remarkable and dynamic vantage point,” Col. Thomas Siverts, the commanding officer of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit — the unit controlling the rotational force, said in a press release this week.
“We are enabling operations that span the vast expanse of the Indo-Pacific region, demonstrating our adaptability in pursuit of our mission,” he added.
The exercise comes just a week after Manila's coast guard removed a Beijing-ordered barrier…