Friday, March 09, 2012

Palace: Joint military exercises not meant to confront China

MALACA√ĎANG said on Thursday that the planned joint military exercises between Filipino and American troops near the disputed Spratly Islands next month should not be construed as being "confrontational" with China.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, in a news briefing, said the government previously announced that it would hold increased military exercises with the United States.
"And that has also been stated already in various statements and I think some of them -- the joint exercises -- will be joined also by other nations," he said.

"So it's not something that we find surprising. It's something that China has known through the various media statements of the US and also of the Philippines," he added.

Lacierda also said that moving the 28th joint exercises to another location was intended to expose the troops to various environments.

"I think that's the purpose for doing that," he said.

The Philippines and China were among those countries claiming partially or wholly the Spratly Islands, believed to be rich in mineral and oil resources, in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea.

Previously, the Balikatan exercises were held mostly in Luzon, such as in Sangley Point in Cavite province.

The United States embassy here said on Wednesday that 4,500 personnel belonging to the US Pacific Command will be joining 2,300 Filipino troops in a series of military exercises that will be held in the country from April 16 to 27. 
SDR | SunStar.Com.Ph | Thursday, March 8, 2012 | Article Link

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