News / Asia

    Philippine, US Military Exercises Begin

    U.S. Marine Brigadier General Richard Simcock (R) shakes hands with Philippines Armed Forces Major General Virgilio Domingo after the opening ceremony of annual Philippines-U.S. military exercise in Manila, April 5, 2013.
    U.S. Marine Brigadier General Richard Simcock (R) shakes hands with Philippines Armed Forces Major General Virgilio Domingo after the opening ceremony of annual Philippines-U.S. military exercise in Manila, April 5, 2013.
    Simone Orendain
    The United States and the Philippines began an annual joint military exercise Friday, involving some 8,000 troops training for disaster relief operations. The drills come at a time of high tension on the Korean peninsula and continuing maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
     
    Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario says the United States and the Philippines continue to strengthen their ties under a mutual defense treaty.  
     
    Fresh from a trip to Washington to meet with Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, del Rosario gave the keynote message Friday during opening ceremonies for the 12-day joint exercises aimed at humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training.

    “These key officials have pledged to work with us to build our own capacity to defend ourselves.  And defend ourselves, we will,” del Rosario said.
     
    Del Rosario said the exercises called “Balikatan” or “Shoulder to Shoulder” come at a crucial time for the Philippines and the region.  He says what he calls “excessive and exaggerated claims” by China of having “indisputable sovereignty” over practically the entire South China Sea have placed regional peace and stability “at serious risk.”
     
    The Philippines and China are locked in a diplomatic fight over claims in the South China Sea.  The Philippines is taking the matter to international arbitration - without China’s participation.  Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have partial or entire claims to the sea.
     
    Secretary Kerry said this week that the U.S. supports the Philippines’ arbitration bid and that the disputes have to be resolved with the rule of law.  He also described the Philippines as one of the U.S.’ five allies in Asia.
     
    With North Korea’s repeated threats of missile attacks against the United States, Del Rosario later told reporters the Philippines is concerned with Pyongyang's actions.
     
    “I think as treaty allies if there is an attack, we should help one another, which is what the alliance is all about,” he said.
     
    In recent years, U.S. military missions in the Pacific have increased refueling and maintenance visits to the Philippines.
     
    Military officials from both countries say the Balikatan exercises this year are heavily focused on humanitarian and disaster management.  This year’s drills include 12 [American] F-18 fighter jets, among the 30 aircraft taking part in exercises in Central Luzon, located in the northern region of the Philippine archipelago.

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    Comments
         
    by: jack williams from: michigan
    April 26, 2013 4:53 PM
    volcano Pinatubo did move the US troops out!!! GREED and POLOTICS did! !!! The new President is a smart man!

    by: Vic from: Taipei
    April 05, 2013 9:03 PM
    It is cheaper for the Philippines to sit down and discuss bilaterally with China about some little rocks out in the deep blue sea. Why go back to a colonial master whom you kicked out before, why not pick a more able Philippine foreign affairs team.
    In Response

    by: Hoang from: Canada
    April 08, 2013 6:18 AM
    Why don't Chinese Taiwanese go back to China and give back Taiwan to Japan?
    Why don't Taiwan give back islands in South China Sea that it invaded from Vietnam in 1974 at the end of Vietnam War when U.S. stopped supporting South Vietnam?
    Why don't Taiwanese government stop being two faced with both China and U.S.?

    by: Dalyt Mukharjee from: UK
    April 05, 2013 11:49 AM
    I agree, Israel is part of the US, although i have never seen a greater numbers of Germans, Russians, Checoslovaquians and Filipinos in one such small place all enjoying their lives partying and having wonderful time - it is really an unbelievable place. However, they are surrounded and some say infiltrated by Arab Muslims who just want to destroy it all.

    by: Sabanian from: Manila
    April 05, 2013 9:54 AM
    as a Pinoy, i know my country deeply down that our admiration of military exploits are reserved to only one nation and its not the US... its Israel!!! we would have like to see more PHL-Israel connection than PHL-US connection...
    In Response

    by: Featherknife from: Washington
    April 05, 2013 10:19 AM
    1-Israel would not exist as a nation without U.S. support.
    2-Why would Israel want to have anything to do with the Philippines?

    by: Synergy from: California
    April 05, 2013 9:08 AM
    I like the fact that US has its presence in the PHL. However, I remember that US did not give that much money it can afford when PHL was devastated with one of the super typhoon. China gave more if my memory serves me right. US poured alot more money on countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and etc. So much for an "Ally".

    by: Tweety from: Los Angeles, CA
    April 05, 2013 8:52 AM
    Chinese communists living in P.I. won't like this and will finance a few hundred communist militant activists to stage rallies against U.S. presence in the country.

    Too bad for the Chinese communist, now the volcano Pinatubo is not on their side to drive the Americans away.

    Though the American bases were not there anymore, during the war with Afghanistan and Iraq, Philippine ports were used for refuel and maintenance of US ships and planes. Precisely why communist China wanted control of the South China Sea, in addition to China's economic interest in the region.

    by: Tara from: Calif.
    April 05, 2013 7:45 AM
    It official that the United States and the Philippines are an open marry nation to battling grounds for custody. Smile, you are on satellite camera's!

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