(PresidentialWire.com)- Military personnel from the United States and the Philippines have begun joint exercises to boost bilateral ties and sharpen combat skills.
Reports show over 3,000 Filipino and American troops are participating in the three-week-long drills called “Salaknib.” Both countries’ armed forces will engage in several live-fire exercises using small weapons, mortars, and building projects.
Prior to Saturday’s opening ceremony, Colonel Graham White, commander of the 2nd Integrated Brigade Combat Team, emphasized the importance of the Salaknib exercise for enhancing joint preparedness and fostering connectivity with our regional friends and partners.
Fort Magsaysay, the most extensive military installation in the Philippines, would host the bulk of the army-to-army drill, as reported by the media. The Philippines Army Commander, Lieutenant General Brawner, said the scenarios would entail protecting the Philippine archipelago against invaders.
According to a report, an arrangement was reached between the USA and the Philippines to increase the US military presence at Filipino facilities. The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement from 2014 would provide US forces access to four more military locations in the Philippines.
In addition to replacing Marines stationed in Okinawa, Japan, with mobile forces equipped with projectiles that can target Chinese ships, the United States has opened a new Marine Corps post in Guam as part of a more significant reorganization of its troop presence in the Pacific. If the United States makes certain adjustments, it may be able to respond to conflicts more quickly and efficiently.
According to Reuters, China has voiced its disapproval of the drills, blaming the United States for increasing tensions between the Philippines and China.
A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Manila said on Sunday that the United States has disrupted and upset the collaborative effort of nations in this area to protect stability and harmony.
An official for the Philippines indicated that the country had been keeping a careful eye on China’s growing actions towards Taiwan. He predicted that tensions would only increase.