The U.S. Army is planning its first Patriot missile air-defense exercise on Palau amid efforts by China to woo other Pacific island nations with offers of economic and security cooperation.
Okinawa-based soldiers from 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Battalion are expected to fire the Patriot during a June 15 drill, Capt. Nicholas Chopp, a spokesman for the 94th Air and Missile Defense Command at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, told Stars and Stripes by phone Wednesday.
“It’s going to be the first time we have done [a Patriot live-fire drill] on Palau,” he said. “And it’s the second one west of the International Date Line.”
Palau, one of a handful of nations that recognize Taiwan as independent of China, was excluded from Beijing’s recent offer of economic and security assistance to 10 Pacific island nations, including nearby Micronesia, The Associated Press reported Saturday.
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