US, PH launch war games near West Philippine Sea

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US and Philippine marines participate in small boat operations training at the seaNavy Education Training Center (NETC) in San Antonio, Zambales province, northwest of Manila on September 18, 2013. The Philippines and the US launched war games on September 18 at a naval base facing turbulent waters claimed by China, as the allies sought to highlight their expanding military alliance. AFP

ZAMBALES, Philippines — The Philippines and the United States launched war games Wednesday at a naval base facing turbulent waters claimed by China, as the allies sought to highlight their expanding military ties.

About 2,300 marines from both sides are taking part in the annual exercises which this year are being staged alongside the West Philippine Sea and ahead of US President Barack Obama’s planned first visit to the Philippines next month.

The Philippines, which has been seeking US military support to counter what it perceives as a growing Chinese threat to its South China Sea territory, welcomed the exercises as another important plank in building its defense capabilities.

“Multilateral exercises and agreements are essential in our cooperation and operational readiness as a multi-capable force, ready to defend our country’s sovereignty and integrity,” Philippine Navy vice-commander Rear Admiral Jaime Bernardino said in a speech at the opening of the exercises.

The three-week Philippine-US Amphibious Landing Exercises (Phiblex) will involve two US warships, as well as a series of live ground fire exercises and jungle survival training.

The Filipino exercises commander, Brigadier-General Remigio Valdez, said they would also include simulated amphibious assaults to capture islands held by hostile forces.

“We are building our capability on amphibious operations, so it’s part of the scenario,” he told reporters, although no specific hostile country was named.

Scarborough Shoal a flashpoint for tensions

The exercises were launched at a naval base in San Antonio, a town on the western coast of Luzon island that faces the West Philippine Sea.

The naval base is about 220 kilometers from Scarborough Shoal, a group of rocky outcrops that is one of the flashpoint areas in the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.

The Philippines insists it has sovereign rights to the shoal, which fishermen from coastal towns near San Antonio have sailed to for decades, because it is well within its internationally recognized exclusive economic zone.

The nearest major Chinese land mass to Scarborough Shoal is Hainan island, about 650 kilometers away.

But China claims nearly all of the West Philippine Sea, even waters and land formations close to the other countries. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, as well as the Philippines, have overlapping claims to parts of the sea.

The rivalries have for decades made the sea, home to vital global shipping lanes, a potential trigger for military conflict.

Tensions have risen sharply in recent years amid accusations by the Philippines and Vietnam of increasing Chinese aggressiveness.

The Philippines says Chinese vessels have occupied Scarborough Shoal since last year, preventing Filipino fishermen from going there. This month the Philippines accused China of erecting concrete structures there to begin a permanent presence.

However neither the US nor Philippine side would say exactly where the Phiblex exercises would be held, and Valdez said the drill to retake islands was not for Scarborough Shoal.

“There is no specific activity in the exercises designed (for) the Scarborough,” Valdez said.

The exercises are taking place as the allies move closer to a planned deal that would expand the US military presence in the Philippines.

The pact would allow the United States to bring military hardware on to local bases, and formalise more US troop visits. The Philippines has said it wants the pact signed as soon as possible.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Brigadier-General Paul Kennedy, commander of the US 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, said he did not know if the agreement would be ready in time for Obama’s visit to the Philippines on October 11 and 12.

“If it comes out of the president’s visit and if it’s politically mature enough to have been signed at that point it would be fortuitous, but I don’t have any idea where it stands at this point,” Kennedy told reporters.

The next round of negotiations are set for Manila starting on October 1.

The United States had a permanent military presence at two bases in the Philippines until 1992, when they were closed amid nationalist opposition.

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  • socali

    We must follow the lesson of Japan in the 19th century. Send delegations all over the world to learn the most modern military techniques. Hire military advisers from abroad and receive advise on what we need to improve on. Also, we need to train and become a more disciplined force. No more police officers/military officers with big bellies. Replace incompetent personnel with officers who truly understand warfare.

    • boogli anak- dami

      madaling sabihin yan kung maraming budget ang pilipinas,kaso sa dalawang cutter pa lang galing sa US umaangal na pilipinas sa gastos sa gasolina

  • DGuardian

    Ano na ang nangyari sa nalathala na plano ng Philippine Navy na tanggalin ang 75 concrete blocks sa Panatag Shoal? Dapat ay gawin na nila ito, bago makagawa pa ng istraktura doon ang mga Chinese. Hindi na dapat na mag-atubili pa ang ating gobyerno.

  • wawa2172

    The US and the PH could have implemented the war games they have in Zamboanga siege of MNLF forces. Now on its 10th day the AFP have yet to completely topple the enemies whose using civilians as human shield. The AFP should launch an attacked to the known based of Misuari faction in Jolo and to bring back Misuari in jail for his crime against the people of Zamboanga. The moro dominated barangays of Zamboanga should also be checked kung mayron bang nakatambak na baril at armas sa mga bahay at mosque nito. Same should be done sa iba pang lugar na may concentration nang moro insurgency.

  • warillaman

    Its the name of the game, he,he,he, this mongoloid chinks denies building structures in panatag shoal, we play wargames infront of the shoal, and as soon as the arbitration panel hands down there verdict, its a go to man the shoals and reefs of zambales and spratley, as I said before, mongoloid chinks has no balls, they are only good in killing their own kind, and this people in chinksland ???, they are just used to being slaves no balls either,, he,he,he,he, they just look at the wall and they are reminded they are slaves, they could not even rise up or say anything against their masters, no guts, no balls, typical character of a mongoloid chink, he,he,he,he,
    Just don’t buy their cheap, inferior goods and their world will stop turning, only way to free the slaves.

  • PagpagLasangPino-cchio

    Libre ang MREs dala ng mga puting Kano. Salamat mga GI Joes…..

    • Maj Gen Luo Yuan

      The GI’s MREs pale in comparison with our PLA’s MRE – chopsuey, congee
      and moon cake.

  • joboni96

    nakalusot na naman ang imperyalista
    naka deploy na naman sa teritoryo natin

    using misdirecting magic terminology training
    natuto pa sa atin

  • 33Sam

    HERE WE GO FLIPPERS.

    THE ‘OL SCHEDULE A DRILL SO THAT THEY CAN FALSE FLAG A REAL INCIDENT ALONGSIDE THE DRILL SO NO ONE WOULD BE THE WISER.

    WORKED FOR 9/11, SANDY HOOK, AURORA COLORADO AND THE BOSTON MARATHON. AS WELL AS MANY OTHER INCIDENTS THE U.S. MILITARY WAS INVOLVED.

    THE U.S. MILITARY IS CONTROLLED BY GLOBALISTS!!!

    ANYONE WITH A BRAIN WOULD NOT TRUST ANYTHING THESE POOR COMPARTMENTALIZED SOLDIERS ARE BEING TRAINED TO DO PUTTING THEMSELVES IN HARM’S WAY BECAUSE THE GLOBALISTS WANTS TO KILL OFF MORE “USELESS EATERS…” THEIR WORDS NOT MINE..

    http://static.infowarsDOTcom/bindnfocom/2013/09/military.jpg

    the suicide rate for u.s vets coming back from the middle east is up at an alarming rate for all the atrocities they are made to commit on innocent men women and children.

    THE FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR GOES ON SOLAR AND SAYS ITS JUST “EXERCISES!”

    YEAH SURE WE KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN BY “EXERCISES!”

    FLIPPERS NEVER LEARN BECAUSE THEY HAVE A HARD TIME PROCESSING ALL THIS INFORMATION!!!

    • Serpico Last

      So says the Communist 50 cent army troll. Stop pretending to be an American. It’s an insult to the real victims of the tragedies you claim to be involved in. What part of the US military was involved with the Sandy Hook and the Aurora, CO incidents? The US military sent fighter jets to patrol the skies right after 9/11- did you also fly on one of these. And you also were involved with the military patrols after the Boston bombings? I’m surprised you didn’t say you were involved with the Bin Laden mission? Wow, even Steven Seagal couldn’t have made a movie script like your imagination. Let me guess you were in a special forces unit, but you can’t really talk about it, riiiight. You CCP trolls are so full of force-fed propaganda that you can’t separate the truth from fantasy.

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