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“US exploits Manila like a pawn”

“US exploits Manila like a pawn”

Annual Philippine-US military exercises are expected to begin next month near Taiwan and the South China Sea.

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Annual Philippines-US military exercises near Taiwan and the South China Sea are expected to begin next month, amid rising tensions between Beijing and Manila over disputed waters. The maneuvers, known as “polygatan” (“shoulder to shoulder”), are supposed to include maritime and cyber security operations and will take place from the third week of April to the first of May. The Australian Armed Forces and the French Navy will also participate, Philippine Army Col. Michael Logico said in an interview with Philippine military officials. Japanese troops were also called out. In essence, a dress rehearsal could be held for the allied front – led by the US – in the event of China's forceful actions against Taiwan, the Philippines or other countries in the region.

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The large-scale military exercises are expected to include the sinking of a mock enemy ship in the West Philippine Sea, similar to last year's sinking of the Philippine Navy ship PRB Pangasinan San. Antonio, Zambales. This year, activities will also focus on cyber security.

Military exercises may also take place in the northern Philippine province of Batanes. “That's one of the places we're considering in doing Baligatan – Col. Logico said Tuesday – we'll also do maritime exercises west of Palawan and integrated air missile defense exercises in Central Luzon. We're moving away from our traditional training areas.” Last month, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Romeo Brawner Jr. and other military officials visited Bataan to inspect the construction sites of the naval base under construction in Mahadao City.

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