(Central News Agency reporter Chen Yanjun’s special report from Manila on the 3rd) Tensions in the South China Sea have escalated recently. The United States, the Philippines, Japan and South Korea will conduct joint exercises for nearly two weeks starting from the 9th in the Batanes Islands in the Philippines near Taiwan and Palawan Island in the South China Sea. Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training, coastal search and rescue, coastal defense training and amphibious operations, etc.
The U.S. Marine Corps Rotational Force Southeast Asia (MRF-SEA) said today that the U.S.-Philippines “Maritime Warrior Cooperation” (Kamandag) exercise will be held in Luzon Island, Batanes, and Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines from the 9th to the 20th. Multiple training locations are available in Zamboanga, the southwestern province of Tawi-tawi and Palawan.
During the exercise, the US, Philippines, Japan and South Korea troops will conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training, including chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (chemical, biological, radioactive, nuclear) training operations, coastal search and rescue, coastal defense training, amphibious operations and medical subject expert exchanges, etc. Strengthen multinational combat readiness capabilities, partnerships and joint combat capabilities.
The Batanes Islands are located at the northern tip of the Philippines, and the closest distance to Taiwan is only 98 kilometers. Amid the tense situation in the Taiwan Strait, this area has become an important strategic base for the Philippines.
The U.S. Marine Corps said that about 950 members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and 850 members from the U.S. 1st Marine Expeditionary Force and 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force will train with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and South Korean Marines. The British Armed Forces will send observers.
The United States and the Philippines have held “Sea Warrior Cooperation” exercises since 2016. Thomas Siverts, commander of the U.S. Marine Corps Southeast Asia Rotation Force, said that this exercise is of historic significance.
“One of the reasons is that we continue to strengthen our alliances, which is reflected in the breadth of this year’s exercise,” he said. “Secondly, Southeast Asia rotational forces participated in this exercise for the first time last year, and now we are honored to lead all U.S. forces in this year’s exercise.” Marine Corps. Most importantly, we are able to leverage the relationships we established a year ago to lead and increase joint capabilities with the Philippine Marine Corps.”
The US Marine Corps stated that the participation of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, the South Korean Marine Corps and the British observers highlighted the global importance of maritime security and “demonstrated our joint commitment to maintaining stability and peace in the Indo-Pacific region.”
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The Philippines and China have recently been involved in frequent disputes in the South China Sea. In early October, the China Coast Guard reported that it had driven away a Philippine Navy gunboat in the waters near Huangyan Island in the South China Sea. This was denied by the Philippines. In October, a Philippine supply ship was on a supply mission to a warship stranded on the Renai Shoal. The police boat intercepted and the two boats collided;
In late October, the Chinese military accused a Philippine patrol ship of intruding into the waters near Scarborough Shoal and being “blocked and controlled” by China. However, Manila stated that the Philippine Navy patrol ship was only on routine patrol and no accident occurred during the process. (Editor: Zhou Yongjie) 1121103