mandag 22. april 2024

US and Ally Begin Major Military Exercise on 'China's Doorstep'

More than 16,000 troops will take part in the U.S.'s largest military exercise with the Philippines as tensions simmer between the U.S. ally and neighboring China. The 39th edition of Balikatan, or "shoulder to shoulder" in Tagalog, kicked off on Monday and will be held around Palawan and Batanes, two Philippine provinces near South China Sea hotspots and China-claimed Taiwan. Under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who took office in 2022, Manila has been pushing back against and publicizing China's increasingly muscular presence within the Philippines' internationally recognized exclusive economic zone.

Balikatan is "a cornerstone event between the U.S. and the Philippines, directly supporting the refinement and understanding of our shared Mutual Defense Treaty obligations," Lt. Col. Brian Block, a U.S. Marine Corps spokesperson, told Newsweek.