PH, US to hold amphibious drills near South China Sea
The Philippines and United States will hold amphibious landing exercises near the South China Sea for almost three weeks starting Monday.
Nearly 700 US service members based in Japan and members of the Philippine Navy and Marines will conduct a command post exercise, field training exercises, amphibious operations, combined arms training, civil military operations and humanitarian and civic assistance projects, the US Embassy said on Friday.
The 31st Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise will be held from Sept. 21 to Oct. 9.
A command post exercise will be held in Palawan, which is aimed to increase the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ capability to conduct planning for and execution of bilateral maritime operations.
Field training exercises, meanwhile, will be held in Angeles-Clark, to include small arms and artillery live-fire training.
Humanitarian and civic assistance projects in Palawan will include engineering civic action projects to improve local infrastructure and cooperative health engagements to share best medical practices to meet the needs of Filipinos in the community.
“The Philippine-led exercise will continue to enhance the interoperability between the US Marine air-ground task force and the AFP with the goal of improving our bilateral response to regional issues and maritime security crises within the Asia Pacific,” the US Embassy said.
Exercises such as these sustain both countries’ strong foundation of interoperability and strengthen their working relationships across the range of military operations—from disaster relief to complex expeditionary operations.
The joint exercises are held amid China’s sweeping expansion in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).
China has been aggressive in its reclamation activities on nine reefs in the Spratlys, which the US has strongly opposed. The Philippines, one of the rival claimants, has filed a protest over China’s claims at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. Frances Mangosing/RC
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