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US, Filipino forces plan drills near disputed area

/ 06:20 PM January 19, 2012

MANILA, Philippines— A Philippine general says U.S. and Filipino marines will hold combat drills at an actual oil rig in the South China Sea to bolster the defense of such facilities from security threats.

Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban, commander of the military’s Western Command, said Thursday the exercises sometime in April or March off western Palawan province should not alarm China because these will be done within Philippine territorial waters.

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Sabban says the drills involve defending and retaking oil and gas rigs captured by enemies.

The planned exercises northwest of Palawan may provoke Chinese protests.

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The Associated Press has learned China last year claimed new territory in or near the venue of the planned drills. The Chinese Embassy did not immediately react.

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TAGS: Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban, Philippine territorial waters, South China Sea, Spratlys, West Philippine Sea
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