Today: Tuesday, 28 May 2024 year

Washington and Manila will conduct exercises outside Philippine territorial waters for the first time.

Washington and Manila will conduct exercises outside Philippine territorial waters for the first time.

Washington and Manila are preparing to hold Balikatan military exercises outside Philippine territorial waters next week.

The maneuvers will take place against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea (SCS). It is indicated that for the first time since the annual exercises began in 1991, the Philippines and the United States will conduct joint naval maneuvers outside Philippine territorial waters, in areas of the high seas claimed by China.


The three-week exercise is expected to involve 16,000 troops in four main activities, with a particular focus on countering sea and air attacks.

Beijing has been arguing for several decades with a number of countries over the territorial ownership of individual islands in the South China Sea, on the shelf of which significant hydrocarbon reserves have been discovered. First of all, we are talking about the Xisha archipelago (Paracel Islands), the islands of Nansha and Huangyan (Scarborough). The territory is claimed by Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.

 


The Chinese Coast Guard has recently begun to increasingly use water cannons against Philippine vessels in the area of ​​the Ayungin Shoal and Scarborough Reef in the South China Sea. Ship collisions also occur. On March 5, the Philippine Coast Guard said its ship was damaged after a collision with a Chinese coast guard ship in the South China Sea near a disputed reef, injuring four people. The Chinese side blamed the incident on the Philippines, saying the Philippine ship deliberately crashed into the Chinese ship in an unprofessional and dangerous manner.