More than 5,000 soldiers from the U.S. and allies took to the land, sea, and air for joint combat drills in Indonesia, while China continues aggressive behavior that has included flying hundreds of warplanes near Taiwan in recent weeks.
The military exercise was the largest of its kind since the nations first started such cooperation in 2009.
"I spend every waking minute doing everything to ensure we are preventing conflict in the region," said U.S. Navy Adm. John Aquilino, who oversaw the exercise. "And that is my commitment to all of my partners. Every day we will try to prevent war."
The activities in the Indo-Pacific region come during a period of heightened tension with China regarding Taiwan. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the first in her position to visit the island since Newt Gingrich in 1997. Ahead of the trip, which had been long rumored before it was confirmed, Chinese officials threatened that the U.S. would face consequences if Pelosi went there.
In the days leading up to Pelosi's visit, which was in the middle of a multi-country tour of Asia, the U.S. sent the USS Ronald Reagan and a strike group to the South China Sea, although a Navy spokesperson said it was a planned trip.
Since then, China has fired missiles and gone into Taiwanese sea and airspace. This has led to Taiwan conducting military drills of its own, demonstrating its ability to resist China.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou said that China was using Pelosi's trip as a pretext for its aggressive actions and that this is merely an excuse to pressure Taiwan into "peaceful reunification" with China.
"China launched military provocations on these grounds.," Ou said "This is absurd and a barbaric act, which also undermines regional stability and interferes with shipping and commercial activities in the Indo-Pacific region."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.