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14-nation RIMPAC military drill concludes in the Pacific

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HONOLULU (AP): Monthlong military drills in the Pacific, which concluded this weekend, were intended only as training exercises to combat terrorism and piracy – and were not meant to send a message to North Korea, the commander of the drills said.

Vice Adm Richard W Hunt said the biennial 14-nation Rim of the Pacific military exercises had been planned for two years and were not a reaction to North Korea's accusation earlier this month that the US and South Korea were plotting to attack.

Hunt said Pacific nations will be better able to combat terrorism, piracy and violent extremism as a result of the exercises. The military drills that end Saturday brought together 20,000 personnel, 32 ships, five submarines and more than 170 aircraft in waters surrounding Hawaii.

“What we are trying to accomplish with RIMPAC is training for ourself, not necessarily sending a message,” Hunt said.

“Trying to read current events into it would be inappropriate, and is certainly not something that was part of the structure or the intent of the exercise.”

He declared the world's largest maritime exercises "a fantastic success," saying it improved tactical coordination and built relationships that will improve security throughout the Pacific.

"These are very important parts of maritime security," said Japanese Rear Adm Kazuki Yamashita.

Participating countries practiced amphibious landings, mine search and clearance, live-fire missile shooting, air defence exercises, submarine hunting and more during the drills that began June 23.

For the US Marines, the gathering was an opportunity for troops to train on water as well as land, said Brig Gen John J Broadmeadow.

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