(NewsReady.com) – China recently held massive military drills where they simulated an attack on Taiwan. The war games came after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with US lawmakers in California. Days after China wrapped up its exercises, the US Armed Forces and Filipino forces began their own.
On Tuesday, April 11, American and Filipino forces launched the largest military drills in decades in the South China Sea. The exercises are called Balikatan — meaning shoulder-to-shoulder in Tagalog — will run until April 28 and will feature 17,600 military members. That includes roughly 5,400 Filipino troops, 12,200 from the US, and 111 Australians. The troops will carry out an exercise that simulates retaking an island. The drills will also include a ship-sinking rocket attack and live-fire maneuvers. US fighter jets, warships, HIMARS rocket launchers, Patriot missiles, and anti-tank Javelins will be featured.
The Philippines and China don’t have a great relationship. The Chinese Communist Party believes the entire South China Sea belongs to it. The Associated Press reported US Marine Major General Eric Austin said the exercises will help prepare the countries to react more quickly to a “conflict, crisis, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”
Col. Michael Logico, a spokesperson for the Filipino government, said the troops will fire at a ship that is as close to them as an “actual threat” would be in battle. “We are demonstrating that we are combat ready,” he said.
The U.S. and Philippines are launching their largest combat exercises in decades, with live-fire drills and a boat-sinking rocket assault in waters across the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait. “We are not provoking anybody by simply exercising.”https://t.co/IRcrffZuBt
— Jonathan Cheng (@JChengWSJ) April 11, 2023
BBC reported the exercises were in the works before China carried out drills targeting Taiwan. US and Filipino officials say they are committed to maintaining stability and peace in the Indo-Pacific region.
The South China Morning Post published an article suggesting that China doesn’t intend to respond to the drills because they don’t want to push the Filipino government closer to the US.
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