Hint to Beijing? US Organizes War Games With Philippines in South China Sea

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
By Paul Martin


This month, the US and the Philippines will begin their annual war games in the South China Sea. While insisting that the exercises are not meant to be seen as a “show of force,” this year’s games are twice as large as previous drills, and follows a recent trend of American intimidation as it fears the rise of Chinese influence in the region.

Last year, 5,500 soldiers took part in the Balikatan exercises in the Philippines. But this year, the 10-day exercises will feature twice as many individuals. The American troop presence, alone, exceeds last year’s total, with 6,600 participating. In total, nearly 12,000 soldiers will take part in this year’s event, which includes maritime security and disaster response drills, as well as civic projects.

The exercises will begin on April 20.

“The joint exercises are designed to increase our capability to defend our country from external aggression,” military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Harold Cabunoc told Reuters. “It is to test how ready and how effective we can operate with our American allies in both humanitarian and security operations.”

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