The operation comes at a time of heightened tension in the South China Sea, where China and the Philippines are vying for sovereignty over several islands and atolls.
of US and Philippine forces started this monday joint military exercises Annual exercises held in the Asian archipelago to strengthen the military alliance between the two allies, Pacific tensions.
“We are shifting[the focus]towards territorial defense. Philippine Army General Romeo Browner, with a veiled reference to China.
an exercise called “Saracunib”, This year, more than 3,000 soldiers (800 more than last year) will participate between the two countries, and artillery and mortar fire will take place from March 13th to April 4th.
The exercise will take place at a base in the Philippines masaisai fort, Pampanga province and Raoul, near Manila in northern Luzon, at a time of heightened tensions in the South China Sea, where China and the Philippines are vying for sovereignty over several islands and atolls.
On February 2, the Philippines and the United States extended the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed in 2014 by agreeing to send U.S. forces to four new military bases in the archipelago. Based on Philippine soil.
The locations of these bases are still unknown, but Manila has announced that at least three of them are in the north and northwest of the archipelago. This will help contain Chinese movements around Taiwan. – and the South China Sea, where the Philippines and China maintain a territorial dispute.
These joint exercises will bring together more than 9,000 troops from Washington and Manila in 2022 and precede other large-scale military exercises on Philippine soil “Balikatan” that will begin on April 24 this year. increase.