Philippines to Hold Joint Naval Exercise with US, Australia, Japan

Fri Apr 05 2024
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MANILA: The Philippines will hold joint naval exercise with the US, Australia and Japan, western media reported on Thursday citing two diplomatic sources.

The development comes as the four nations strengthen military ties to counter China’s expanding influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

The drill will be held Sunday in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims entirely, just before US President Joe Biden is expected to hold the first trilateral summit with the leaders of the Philippines and Japan.

The diplomatic sources were speaking on condition of anonymity as the drills have not yet been announced officially.

The Australian warship HMAS Warramunga arrived at the Philippine island province of Palawan earlier this week. The Philippine military had said the visit was aimed at boosting military ties with partner states.

Regional tensions have risen in the past year as China becomes confident in asserting its claims over waters also claimed by Japan and Philippines, as well as Taiwan.

US trying to deepen alliances in region

The United States has been trying to deepen its alliances in the region, including Japan and the Philippines.

The April 11 planned summit with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the White House will be the latest in a series of interactions with Asia-Pacific partners.

Biden on the occasion will also hold separate bilateral meetings with Kishida and Marcos.

Joint patrols between the US, Japanese and Philippine coast guards are likely expected to be announced during the event.

The drills and summit follow repeated confrontations between Chinese and Philippine ships near disputed waters in recent months.

Top US officials have already declared Washington’s commitment to protecting the Philippines against any armed attack in the South China Sea.

Ties between Manila and Beijing have deteriorated under Marcos, who has taken a stronger stance against Chinese actions in the sea.


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