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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, May 28, 2018

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U.S.-Philippines joint military exercises irks China

Territorial disputes in South China Sea.

Share on Facebook April 5, 2016, Reporter : Big News Network, Reader : 532

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MANILA, Philippines - A ceremony held in Manila marked the start of a 11-day Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercises by U.S. and Philippine troops.> Big News Network

In a bid to reiterate the force of U.S. and allied forces to counter China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, 5,000 U.S. troops, 4,000 Philippine soldiers, 80 from Australia gathered in the Philippines for joint military exercises.

Irked at the show of power, China’s state media issued a stern warning against ‘outsiders’ interfering in the already tense territorial disputes in South China Sea.

The exercises that began after the ceremony would be on till April 16, and the training includes amphibious warfare drills and disaster relief operations. Ash Carter, the U.S. Defence Secretary will reportedly be arriving in Philippines over the next few days to observe live-firing of artillery and to visit U.S. Navy ships that would be taking part.

Reports added that the exercises will take place across the Philippines, including the island of Palawan near the disputed Spratly Islands, where China has built a string of artificial islands.

While Japan will reportedly not take part in the exercises directly, two Japanese warships and a submarine began a four-day goodwill visit to the Philippines on April 3. 

The South China Sea includes some of the world’s most important sea routes and reports estimated that about $5 trillion in trade passes through the region annually. China, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have all been competing territorial claims in the waters.

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