Thursday, June 13, 2024

PH-US Balikatan drills to take place near Taiwan

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The Balikatan joint military exercises will take Philippine and US forces to the northern tip of the Philippines near Taiwan, an officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said on Wednesday.

According to Jun Veneracion’s report on “24 Oras,” the venue for the military drills was chosen to prepare for the possible armed conflict between China and Taiwan, which it considers a rogue province.

“The purpose of an armed forces, why we exist, is to prepare for war. There’s no sugarcoating it. That’s absolutely true,” Balikatan executive agent Col. Michael Logico said.

“For us not to prepare, that’s a disservice to the country,” he added.

The 2024 Balikatan, which will run from April 22 to May 10, will be the biggest iteration of the annual joint military exercise with the participation of various government agencies and the armed forces of more nations.

It will be observed by several countries including Brunei, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The US will deploy SM6 — its missile system with a long-range capacity of 300 nautical miles — for the first time in 2024 Balikatan.

A sinking exercise, wherein a decommissioned ship will be targeted, will likewise be conducted in Laoag, Ilocos Norte. 

“With or without China. Let’s say for example in a parallel universe China did not exist, we would still be doing these exercises,” Logico added. 

AFP Spokesperson Colonel Francel Padilla lauded the joining of France and Australia in the joint exercise. 

“With these exercises, paano tayo, we can interoperate and integrate our systems with other like-minded nations. In the event of any eventuality, not just for the defense side of things, but also in terms of humanitarian assistance as the case may be,” said Padilla. —Sundy Locus/NB, GMA Integrated News


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