In this file photo, ships from the Republic of Korea Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and U.S. Navy operate together during exercise Pacific Dragon in 2016. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Eli K. Buguey)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - The maritime forces of the United States, Japan, and Republic of Korea are conducting a trilateral link exercise (LINKEX) Oct. 24 - 25 in seas east of the Korean Peninsula and waters near Japan to promote communications, interoperability and partnership in the 7th Fleet area of operations.

The exercise will employ tactical data link systems to exchange track data among all the participating ships. It will allow participants to enhance tactical capabilities, increase self-defense, and strengthen partnerships and situational awareness.

U.S. participants include USS Stethem (DDG 63) and USS Milius (DDG 69) in addition to ships from both the Republic of Korea Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. USS Milius will be participating from the 3rd Fleet area of operations where it is currently stationed.

The U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build maritime partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict.