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U.S., Japan, Australia conducted naval exercises in South China Sea Monday: U.S. Navy

TOKYO (Reuters) - The United States, Japan and Australia conducted trilateral naval exercises in the South China Sea on Oct. 19, the U.S. Seventh Fleet said on Tuesday.

It was their fifth joint operations this year in the fleet’s area of operations, it said in a statement.

The operations took place as the United States and its allies have stepped up calls for a “free and open” Indo-Pacific amid mounting concerns about China’s assertiveness in the region.

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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