The joint maritime exercises between the navies of Southeast Asian nations and the United States seek to improve interoperability and are not aimed against anyone, the US Navy said.

US Navy Rear Adm. Joey Tynch (right) commander, Task Force 73, speaks to Royal Thai Navy Rear Adm. Sompong Narkthong, commander for the combined ASEAN-US task force during the ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise (AUMX), following the AUMX opening ceremony at Sattahip Naval Base. PHOTO BY US NAVY/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Greg Johnson

Rear Admiral Murray Joe Tynch 3rd, commander of the logistics group in the Western Pacific, clarified that the Asean-US Maritime

Exercises (AUMX) aimed to enhance skills, situational awareness and interoperability of navies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the US.

“I think what I’d like to make clear about AUMX is the focus of it, really…is to enhance skills that are applicable to maritime security throughout international waters,” Tynch told reporters.

“The exercise is not focused or dedicated against or towards anyone else. It’s to enhance the skills of Asean and the US working together,” he added.

The AUMX is co-hosted by the US Navy and the Royal Thai Navy. It brings together the navies from Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Last week, the Philippine Navy sent off BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16) to join the military drills.

The vessel was in Hon Khoai, Vietnam on Tuesday conducting trilateral sail with the Royal Brunei Navy’s KDB Darulaman (OPV-08) and Vietnam’s Pohang-class HQ-18.

The event opened on Monday at the Sattahip Naval Base in Thailand. Joint exercises will begin at Sattahip in Chonburi, Thailand.

“The Asean-US exercise is a significant event and a positive step toward building a more networked region,” Tynch said. “And that’s the key for maintaining stability and security in the maritime domain.”