KOROR, Palau (NNS) -- Palau Vice President Antonio Bells welcomed senior representatives of Pacific Partnership 2016 at his government office, Aug. 5.
During their time in Palau, service members from Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States will work alongside their Palauan counterparts to improve the collective ability of participating nations to prepare and respond to a range of humanitarian disasters. Numerous medical and engineering projects are planned for the Palau mission stop.
Speaking at the event, Bells said, "On behalf of the Republic of Palau, I would like to say we are very grateful to all the nations taking part. The Republic of Palau has taken great care to maximize the opportunities of this great event, and I am here today to express our deep appreciation."
JS Shimokita (LST 4002) arrived in Palau, Aug. 4, acting as a base for the mission's activities. Its visit is the first time the vessel has visited Palau. During the meeting, Capt. Takeshi Okada, commander, Landing Ship Division One, presented the vice president with a gift commemorating the event.
Palau Minister of State Billy Kaertai was also present at the event.
"This is the first time we have had these nations working together alongside us in Palau," Kaertai said. "This is history in the making."
Prior to their stop in Palau, Pacific Partnership 2016 conducted missions in the Philippines, Timor Leste, and Vietnam, and is also currently in Kuantan, Malaysia, with USNS Mercy (T-AH 19). On Aug. 14, the team will depart for their final mission stop in Padang, Indonesia.
Since 2006, Pacific Partnership has been the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Pacific Partnership 2016 is focused on enhancing relationships and multinational-interoperability through knowledge exchange and cooperative training, ensuring partner nations are prepared to collectively and effectively respond when disaster strikes.
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