PCG exercises with US, Japan not meant to ‘antagonize’ China
MARIVELES, Bataan, Philippines — The exercises between the Philippine Coast Guard and its US and Japan counterparts — to be conducted from June 1 to 7 — are not meant to “antagonize” China but are aimed at forging “stronger ties.”
The PCG deputy spokesperson, Lt. Junior Grade Jherich John Ybañez, was asked about the issue during an interview here aboard the BRP Cabra on Tuesday.
“Well, this is purely coast guard to coast guard,” Ybañez told reporters. “These exercises are to build relationships with partners we’ve had exercises with them before. This is not the first time we’ve had an exercise with Japan. This is not the first time we had an exercise with the US Coast Guard.”
“However, this is the very first time we had an exercise with three countries. So we are very happy and we hope this exercise will increase our relationship with them so that our Coast Guard will get better and stronger.”
The exercises — which will be conducted in the West Philippine Sea — include a scenario in which the coast guards of the three countries will have to “neutralize” an international terrorist group aboard a vessel carrying weapons of mass destruction.
Ybañez said the WPS was chosen as the location of the exercises as the area would be “logistically easier for everyone.”
Asked what message the PCG would like to send in conducting the exercises, Ybañez said: “It means that we want more cooperation. Hopefully, in the future, we can have a multilateral exercise.”