USA – Philippines | Largest joint military drills between the two countries kick off – Major Russian military exercise in the Arctic
Defence Redefined
Published on 11/04/2023 at 18:55

The largest joint military exercises ever held in the Southeast Asian country kick off today with the participation of the Philippines and the United States, as the two long-time allies seek to counter China’s growing influence in the region.

About 18,000 troops will take part in the drills, which will – for the first time – involve the use of live fire in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost entirely.

One of the exercises involves the landing of military helicopters on an island in the Philippines, on the northern tip of the island of Luzon, about 300 kilometers from Taiwan.

The start of these annual drills, which are called “Balikatan” (meaning “side-by-side” in Filipino), comes after China’s three-day military drills, which ended yesterday, Monday.

As part of these exercises, Beijing simulated an air and naval blockade of Taiwan, which China considers a province that must reunite with the mainland, even if it is forced to.

The Philippine Defence and Foreign Ministers are due to meet their US counterparts in Washington later. About 12,200 US troops, 5,400 Filipinos, and just over 100 Australians will participate in the drills; a double number compared to those participating last year.

The exercises will last two weeks. In early April, the Philippines provided the US with four new military bases, including a naval one not far from Taiwan, provoking China’s ire.

Also read: China | Three-day military exercises around Taiwan

Moscow, in a projection of power, launched a large-scale military exercise in the Arctic today, involving 1,800 troops, more than ten of its Navy ships, and about forty aircraft and helicopters.

The command of the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet said the drills will focus on protecting the security of Russia’s trade and sea routes such as the Northeast Passage.

The exercise is expected to last several days. The Northern Fleet emphasized that it is a test of the coordination of air, sea, and ground forces.

The so-called Northeast Passage crosses the northern coasts of Russia. To the extent that climate change transforms the normally frozen sea route from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean into a more viable sea route, these waters take on greater strategic and economic importance.

For Moscow, this sea route could facilitate its export of raw materials produced in the Russian Far North, especially natural gas, which continues its course after being liquefied on the Yamal Peninsula in northwestern Siberia.

As part of its claim to the strategically important polar region, Russia formed Special Army Units specialized in Arctic operations more than ten years ago.

Source: CNN Greece

Also read: USA | Power projection by US bombers over Korean peninsula




Pin It on Pinterest

Share This