Posted: 22.04.2024 10:42:29

Media: Philippines, US kicked off exercises with 16,000 troops

ABS-CBN News channel reported that the United States and the Philippines launched the annual Balikatan 2024 military exercises amid growing tensions in the South China Sea, TASS reports


It is stated that ‘the purpose of the armed forces is to prepare for war’. Balikatan 2024 spokesperson Michael Logico noted that if countries do not prepare, it will be ‘a disservice to the Philippines’.

The spokesperson also added that for the first time, the exercises will be held outside the Philippines' territorial waters, about 22km from its coastline.

The media reported that the United States had deployed its Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) anti-aircraft guided missiles to the Philippines, but the Balikatan 2024 spokesperson indicated that these weapons would not be used during the exercises.

The exercises will work out a reaction to the armed seizure of an island in Palawan province near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, whose rights are disputed by China and the Philippines, as well as Brunei, Vietnam, and Malaysia. The exercises will be held in the northern Philippine provinces of Cagayan and Batanes, located less than 300km from Taiwan. The Balikatan 2024 participants will also practice tactics of information warfare, maritime security, and integrated air and missile defence.

The exercises will involve around 11,000 American and 5,000 Filipino troops.