By Camille A. Aguinaldo, Reporter
THERE is no scheduled military exercises between the United States (US) and the Philippines in November, the US Embassy clarified on Wednesday ahead of President Xi Jinping’s expected visit to Manila next month.
“There are no major U.S.-Philippine exercises planned for November. The U.S. and Philippines enjoy ongoing, close cooperation in areas central to our national and security interests, including counterterrorism, maritime security, cybersecurity, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and many other,” the embassy’s press attache Molly Koscina said in a mobile phone message to reporters Wednesday evening.
Presidential spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. earlier cited China’s concerns on US’ planned naval exercise in South China Sea. He has also said the Philippines will not participate in the US military exercises in the region.
CNN earlier reported that a draft proposal from the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet indicated plans to conduct military exercises involving US warships, combat aircraft, and troops in the South China Sea in November as a show of force and a warning to China.
The US Armed Forces, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force conducted amphibious operations training in San Antonio, Zambales, on Oct. 6, as part of counterterrorism and humanitarian response exercises. Ms. Koscina also said the countries concerned agreed last September on 281 security cooperation activities in 2019.
“Every year, our two countries engage in a significant number of security cooperation activities that underscore the US-Philippine relationship as friends, partners, and allies,” she said.