Monday, September 24, 2018
Close  
  • share this

PH, US hold drills amid fresh South China Sea concerns

03:59 PM May 09, 2018

BALIKATAN 2018
(L-R) Philippine military exercise director Lieutenant General Emmanuel Salamat, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP chief of staff Carlito Galvez, and US military exercise director Lieutenant General Lawrence Nicholson link arms during the opening ceremony of the Joint US-Philippines military exercise dubbed “Balikatan 34-2018” on May 7, 2018 at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. INQUIRER photo / EDWIN BACASMAS

SAN ANTONIO, Zambales — At a naval base facing the South China Sea, hundreds of Philippine and US marines retake a “threatened” area as part of their annual military drills.

Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, Philippines Balikatan exercise director, said their objective was to secure a “threatened” area from an “enemy.”

ADVERTISEMENT

About 180 Filipino marines and 160 of their US counterparts participated on Wednesday’s amphibious landing exercise for this year’s Balikatan drills.

The marines stormed the shoreline after they were ferried from the landing craft utility assets of BRP Davao del Sur. The BRP Ramon Alcaraz could also be spotted from afar.

Three amphibious assault vehicles of the US military also were used in the exercises.

This year is the largest military exercise of the two countries under President Rodrigo Duterte, who had previously threatened to scrap the exercises due to his animosity toward the US and its policies.

About 8,000 Filipino and US soldiers are participating in the annual exercises that will be held for 10 days.

Salamat said the drills, while held 180 kilometers from Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, have nothing to do with China’s progressing militarization of the disputed waterway.

The recent report on the alleged deployment of missiles of China in the Spratlys has raised concerns from US, Vietnam, Philippines and other countries.

“The objective is to capture a threatened area that we consider an enemy haven,” he told reporters.

“It has nothing to do with anything else. Our focus is our military-to-military cooperation. We will focus on the training objectives and completing the tasks required to complete for each training modules for Balikatan,” Salamat said.

ADVERTISEMENT

He added that the exercises are important as the Philippines is “an island nation.”

“This could happen anywhere especially in Mindanao….We need to improve our capabilities on amphibious operation because we have more islands than land mass,” Salamat said. /jpv

RELATED STORY

 

Balikatan exercises start amid worries on China’s military buildup in South China Sea

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: AFP, Balikatan, Drill, Military, South China Sea
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2018 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.