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Associated PressUS, Indonesia hold joint military drills amid China concerns The United States and Indonesian militaries began annual joint combat exercises Wednesday on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, joined for the first time by participants from other partner nations, signaling stronger ties amid growing maritime activity by China in the Indo-Pacific region. More than 5,000 soldiers from the US, Indonesia, Australia, Japan and Singapore were participating in this year’s exercises, making them the largest since the drills were established in 2009. The exercises are designed to strengthen interoperability, capability, trust and cooperation in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific, the US Embassy in Jakarta said in a statement.