Philippines holds naval drills with US, Japan near disputed seas

2015-06-22 20:09
South China Sea

South China Sea

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Manila - The Philippines were holding separate naval drills with two of the country's top military allies, the United States and Japan, near the disputed South China Sea, a navy spokesperson said on Monday.

The exercises are taking place off Palawan province, 560km southwest of Manila, amid increasing tensions with China, which has been reclaiming areas in the South China Sea that are within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

The annual naval exercises with the US began on Monday, while the maritime drills with Japan will start on Tuesday, said Lieutenant Liezl Vidallon, a spokesperson for the Philippine Navy.

About 300 US Navy personnel, a P-3C surveillance aircraft and the rescue and salvage ship USNS Safeguard were taking part in the joint exercise, Vidallon said.

A Japanese P-3C Orion aircraft will also take part in the separate drill with Filipino sailors, she said.

The Philippines has protested China's reclamation activities and filed an arbitration case questioning Beijing's claims to the area before a United Nations tribunal.

China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, a key shipping lane that is believed to be rich in mineral resources.

Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims in the area.

Read more on:    philippines  |  us  |  china  |  japan  |  military

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