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Philippines. The largest military exercise with the US since 2015 has been announced. Re-strengthening the relationship

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The Philippines and the United States will hold the largest joint military exercise since 2015 this year, the commander of the Philippine army announced. The announcement came shortly after Manila granted the US more access to its military bases. These actions prove that, after several years of cooling, allied relations between the US and the Philippines are tightening again in the face of China’s increasingly assertive policy.

Romeo Brawner, commander of the Philippine army, announced on Wednesday, February 15, that this year’s edition of the annual joint exercise code-named “Balikatan” will take place in the second quarter of 2023. He noted that these are to be the largest joint exercises with the US since 2015, when over 11,000 soldiers took part in them. soldiers from both countries.

The general did not give the expected number of soldiers this year – he only stated that there would be more of them than in 2022, when 8.9 thousand people participated in joint exercises. soldiers. – All the exercises we carry out are a response to the types of threats we may face in the future, whether natural or man-made – underlined Gen. Brawner.

Balikatan 2022 exercises in the Philippinesdvidshub – Kallahan Morris

SEE ALSO: Taiwan. The remains of a flying object were found on a strategic island. The army launched an investigation

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Military maneuvers of the USA and the Philippines

The will to strengthen relations with the Philippines was also confirmed by the spokesman Pentagon Gen. Patrick Ryder. As he stated in one of the recent Twitter entries, Washington “will double the intensity of activities related to Philippine allies.” “We work hand in hand to maintain a rules-based international order,” Ryder said. He also stressed that “an armed attack against Philippine military forces, state ships, or aircraft anywhere in the South China Sea will trigger US bilateral defense obligations” under U.S.-Philippine treaties.

The US regained an ally

The larger joint exercises are intended to highlight the strengthening of ties between the United States and the Philippines under current President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. They are also an expression of the Philippines’ condemnation of “aggressive actions” China in the South China Sea, including the use by China of a “military laser” against a Philippine ship on February 6.

In recent months, there has been a visible reversal in traditionally good US-Philippine relations. United States and the Philippines have been linked by the oldest American bilateral treaty of alliance in Asia since 1951. The Philippines was also the site of two of the largest foreign military installations of the US Army: Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Air Base, which were transferred to Philippine control after the end of the Cold War.

However, during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, in the years 2016-2022, relations between the Philippines and the US cooled down. The populist and controversial Filipino leader declared his desire to get closer to China, and also tried to loosen relations with the US, e.g. repeatedly threatening to break bilateral military agreements. During Duterte’s rule, the Balikatan exercises continued, but their scale was reduced.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who took office in June 2022, is now taking a more pro-American course in Philippine security policy. As a result, in December an important – also symbolic – visit to Manila was paid by the US Vice President Kamala Harrisand a new one was signed on February 2 an agreement under which the Philippines granted expanded access to its military bases to the US. There have also been reports in recent days that the Philippines is now considering an additional tripartite alliance agreement with the US and Japan.

Balikatan 2018 exercises in the Philippinesdvidshub – Nardel Gervacio

SEE ALSO: Four kills in eight days. CNN: The US Army has developed a new method of detecting flying objects

Main photo source: dvidshub – Madison Santamaria

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