Officials say the drills are not aimed at any country, although they come at a time of tension with China.
U.S. stealth fighters lined the sky and rockets blasted imaginary enemies in the northern Philippines like two weeks of combat drills involving 2,500 Philippine and US marines engaging in mock amphibious assaults and other coastal tactics is coming to an end.
The live-fire drills in a remote valley north of the capital Manila on Thursday were the highlight of a joint combat readiness exercise codenamed Kamandag – a Tagalog acronym for “” Sea Warriors Cooperation” – ended Friday, military officials said.
Held concurrently with combat drills between US and Japanese forces On the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, the Japanese exercise involved an additional 3,000 troops, said US Marine Major General Jay Bargeron.
Bargeron said the exercises ensure that the US is “prepared to respond quickly to a crisis across the Indo-Pacific”.
The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force said the exercises, titled Resolute Dragon 22, were “designed to enhance response capabilities” and contribute to “consolidating a free Indo-Pacific and extend”.
#JGSDF and #USMC was conducted “# ResoluteDragon22“. This exercise is designed to enhance resilience and contribute to maintaining and strengthening a Free and Open Indo-Pacific as well as the Japan-U.S.-Philippines exercise.”# KAMANDAG22“.@USMC pic.twitter.com/E1tHrfMJEX
– JGSDF (@Japan_GSDF) October 13, 2022
The US-Philippines exercise is the first large-scale military exercise between Washington and Manila under the The newly elected President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is an outspoken critic of the US, having threatened to sever ties with Washington and against military exercises with US forces that he said might offend Beijing.
Tensions with China
Shown on Thursday is US HIMARS missile launchers (High Mobility Artillery Missile System)recently gave Ukraine more momentum in its war with Russia and the US F-35B supersonic fighter.
When firing a GPS-guided missile, HIMARS is capable of hitting targets up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) away, said US Marine Lieutenant Colonel Kurt Stahl.
Because of its high mobility and rapid launch, HIMARS is difficult for the enemy to detect and can quickly change position after firing to escape retaliatory air strikes, Stahl told the Associated Press. told the AP news agency.
Mr. Stahl echoed remarks by Philippine military officials that the joint exercises were not aimed at any particular country.
However, the exercises come at a time when Washington and China have harsh words about Taiwan’s status and its claims to islands and waters in the South China Sea.
US President Joe Biden has vowed US forces will defend Taiwan if Beijing tries to invade the self-ruled island, which China has promised to reunify with the mainland and has threatened to use force if Beijing tries to invade the self-ruled island. necessary to achieve their goals.
Although China has claimed sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims over the busy waterway, which is home to an estimated 5,000 billions of dollars of goods pass through each year.
In July, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on China to abide by a 2016 arbitration award that invalidated Beijing’s vast territorial claims in the South China Sea.
The ruling was made by a tribunal established in The Hague under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea after the Philippine government brought China to arbitration in 2013. Beijing occupies a shoal off the northwest coast of the Philippines.
China did not participate in the proceedings and called the arbitral award a sham.
Blinken has also warned that Washington will obligated to protect the Philippines under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Philippines if Philippine forces, ships or aircraft are attacked in disputed waters.