tirsdag 29. mars 2022

US, Filipino forces start war drills in region facing Taiwan

Thousands of American and Filipino forces began on Monday one of their largest combat exercises in years that will include live-fire maneuvers, aircraft assaults, urban warfare and beach landings in a showcase of U.S. firepower in the northern Philippines near its sea border with Taiwan.

The annual exercises, called Balikatan — Tagalog for shoulder-to-shoulder — will run up to April 8 with nearly 9,000 navy, marines, air force and army troops, including 5,100 American military personnel, to strengthen the longtime treaty allies’ “capabilities and readiness for real-world challenges,” U.S. and Philippine military officials said.

China will likely frown on the war drills given their relative proximity to Taiwan, which it claims as Chinese territory, but organizers said the exercises don’t regard any particular country as a target.

“The U.S. military and Armed Forces of the Philippines will train together to expand and advance shared tactics, techniques, and procedures that strengthen our response capabilities and readiness for real-world challenges,” said Maj. Gen. Jay Bargeron, the U.S. 3rd Marine division’s commanding general. “Our alliance remains a key source of strength and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”