Today: April 23, 2024
Today: April 23, 2024

Philippines, US to hold military drills in islands facing South China Sea, Taiwan

Share This
Reuters
Reuters
March 04, 2024

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines and the United States will carry out annual military exercises next month in key locations including Philippine islands facing the South China Sea and Taiwan, as tensions with China in the region continue to simmer.

The exercises, called Balikatan or "shoulder-to-shoulder", will move away from sprawling military camps in the countryside to locations in northern and western regions, Philippine army colonel Michael Logico told a briefing on Tuesday.

The move is consistent with the shift in the country's focus from internal to external defence.

This year's exercises, which a Philippine diplomat previously said could be larger than last year's 17,000-strong drills, will also focus on cybersecurity training and "information warfare".

Batanes, the island province closest to Taiwan, could again be one of this year's exercise venues, Logico said, but he stressed the activities will not focus on the democratically governed island.

"It is natural for us to exercise in those areas because if it's part of Philippine territory, it is where we wave our flag, these are the areas where we defend," Logico said.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory despite the island's rejection and routinely stages air and naval military operations near the island.

The exercises will also include areas in Palawan province in the South China Sea where frequent maritime run-ins between Manila and Beijing have occurred over the past year.

"These are locations that we can adequately perform joint operations," Logico said.

The Philippines on Tuesday accused China's coast guard of carrying out "dangerous manoeuvres" that led to a collision between its coast guard ship and a Chinese vessel during a resupply mission for Philippine troops in the South China Sea.

Like last year, Logico said militaries from both countries will conduct a ship sinking exercise.

Ties between Washington and Manila have warmed under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who last year almost doubled the bases American troops can access under a defence pact.

Australian troops will also join the exercises while the French navy are participating for the first time, Logico said. France and the Philippines are both seeking authority to negotiate a military agreement.

Philippine armed forces spokesperson Francel Margareth Padilla said the exercises will be from the third week of April to the first week of May.

(Reporting by Mikhail Flores; Editing by Michael Perry)

Popular

Jamal Murray sinks shot at buzzer to cap 20-point comeback and lead Nuggets past Lakers 101-99

Jamal Murray sank a 15-foot step-back jumper at the buzzer and the Denver Nuggets wiped out a 20-point second-half deficit to stun the Los Angeles Lakers 101-99 Monday night and take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference playoff series

Nelly Korda puts bid for 6th straight victory on hold after withdrawing from Los Angeles tourney

Nelly Korda is putting her bid for a historic sixth straight victory on hold

Without cameras to go live, the Trump trial is proving the potency of live blogs as news tools

With cameras not allowed at former President Donald Trump's hush money trial in New York, live news blogs are coming into their own as an important news tool

Yankees manager Aaron Boone is ejected 5 pitches into game vs. Athletics

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone was ejected by Hunter Wendelstedt five pitches into a game against the Oakland Athletics over a remark from a fan behind the dugout aimed at the plate umpire

Related

A well-known figure in a German far-right party tells his trial he is completely innocent

Columbia switches to hybrid learning amid protests over Israel's war in Gaza

The UK pledges $620 million in new military aid for Ukraine

China-US relations stable despite US 'interference', Chinese official says

- Advertisement -
Advertisement: Limited Time Offer