US-Philippines Military Exercises
Joint military exercises target China . . . but the US naturally claims China is not the target
US and Philippine militaries near the island of Luzon commenced on Monday joint training exercise meant to bolster cooperation and interoperability between the nations' troops.
Known as the Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX), the ten-day exercise is an annual event, but this year it coincides with increasing tensions between a number of nations in the South China Sea.
China and the Philippines are currently entangled in a territorial dispute over a group of small islands. Ostensibly, the row is about territorial sovereignty, but it's well known the islands inhabit an area rich in natural resources.
Over 2,000 US troops and 1,600 Filipino troops will conduct exercises that, The New York Times says, will focus on "disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and maritime security."
Earlier this year the US announced it would shift military focus to the Asia-Pacific.
|Aircraft mechanics repair a harrier jet on deck the USS Bonhomme Richard after the formal opening of the annual Philippine-US Amphibious Landing Exercises program at the former US naval base of Subic on Oct. 8, 2012.|