The US and 10 Southeast Asian states will hold their first-ever joint maritime exercises in September, aimed at preventing “wrongdoing” as Washington and Beijing jostle for influence in the region. Washington has traditionally been the dominant naval power in Southeast Asia and its re-engagement with the area comes as a deteriorating trade war with China threatens to engulf the global economy. Despite having conflicting interests with four rival claimants in Asean, China last year held a joint maritime drill with the regional bloc. The navies of the US and Asean will do the same on September 2, the US embassy in Bangkok announced late Friday. The purpose of the five-day maritime drill is to “maintain maritime security, focus on prevention and pre-empt wrongdoing in the sea”, it said. The move is likely to further irk China in the wake of Washington’s latest $8 billion arms sales to self-ruling Taiwan.