Manila, Oct 2 (EFE).- The Philippines and the United States began Monday the annual joint military maneuvers, which run until Oct. 13, despite Chinese disapproval especially in the context of territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
The Samasama war games are underway in the south of the island of Luzon, where the Philippine capital is located, and include anti-submarine, anti-surface, anti-aircraft and electronic warfare practices.
More than 730 Philippine soldiers and about 630 American troops are taking part in the maneuvers, which also include the intervention of armed forces from Japan, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Australia in the exchange of information on disaster response, among other issues.
New Zealand and Indonesia are taking part in the exercises as observers.
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force posted on social media platform X that they were participating in the Samasama 2023 to exchange views on “humanitarian assistance and disaster relief” which would “strengthen close cooperation with countries which share basic values such as the rule of law.”
Military exercises between the United States and the Philippines occur quite regularly as a part of the mutual defense treaty signed between them in 1951.
However, the current war drills come amid improved defense ties between the US and the Philippines. following Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assuming power as president last year and a recent escalation of tensions with China over territorial disputes.
Last week China issued a navigation alert prohibiting any military exercise planned in the South China Sea, over which it claims sovereignty and is embroiled in territorial disputes with the Philippines over several islands and atolls, according to the Chinese public broadcaster CCTV.
China asserts its territorial rights over the entire South China Sea, including the Paracel and Spratly archipelagos, a claim that overlaps with the 200-mile exclusive economic zones recognized under international law by countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in favor of Manila in its dispute with China over territorial claims. Despite the ruling, Beijing has refused to comply. EFE