Philippines says joint exercises with US in South China Sea, Asia News

MANILA – The Philippines and the United States on Friday (Feb 9) conducted joint maritime exercises in the South China Sea, the Philippine military said, the latest round of exercises to expand their defense ties.

Security engagements between the treaty allies have escalated over the past year, amid tensions in the South China Sea, where the Philippines and China have traded blame over run-ins in the region.

The Philippines and former colonial ruler the United States have held joint exercises in the South China Sea for the third time since November last year, moves that have frustrated Beijing, which opposes US meddling in its backyard.

„This demonstrates our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, and fostering closer cooperation to further develop our maritime capabilities,” Philippine Chief Romeo Brawner said in a statement.

China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, a route for annual US$3 trillion (S$4 trillion) in commercial shipping, including parts of the exclusive economic zones of the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

It has policed ​​those claims with an expansive coast guard that the Philippines accuses of hostile intentions and actions against international law. China says it is defending its territory.

Also Read: Philippines Gives Greater Access to US Bases Amid China Concerns

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