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Indo-Pacific

Indonesia, U.S. eye South China Sea hot spot for military drills

Natuna Islands a potential location for annual Garuda Shield exercises

A helicopter is used during the Garuda Shield war games hosted by the Indonesian and U.S. militaries last August. (Photo courtesy of the Indonesian army)

JAKARTA/TOKYO -- Indonesia is considering holding joint military exercises with the U.S. on the Natuna Islands, near China's self-proclaimed territorial line and an emerging flashpoint in Beijing's maritime expansion in the South China Sea. 

The islands would be one of the locations for this year's Garuda Shield war games slated to take place for two weeks from Aug. 1, according to sources. The U.S. and Indonesian militaries have hosted the exercises since 2007.

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