Armed forces of United States and Philippines started joint military exercises 0504131

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Defence & Security News - United States / Philippines

 
 
Friday, April 5, 2013, 10:24 AM
 
Armed forces of United States and Philippines started joint military exercises.
Top officials from the United States and Philippines on Friday formally started a joint military exercise which will involve 8,000 troops from both countries and dozens of military assets, including a squadron of F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets.
     
Top officials from the United States and Philippines on Friday formally started a joint military exercise which will involve 8,000 troops from both countries and dozens of military assets, including a squadron of F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets.
Members of the Philippine Army on armoured vehicles during a military parade.
     

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista declared the opening of the nine-day military exercise dubbed as "Balikatan 2013" at the AFP headquarters in Metro Manila, the country's capital region.

"Balikatan is a clear affirmation of a shared commitment between the Philippines and U.S. armed forces to move shoulder to shoulder for stability, security and development," said Bautista.

Brig. Gen. Richard Simcock, deputy commander of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces in the Pacific, said the annual military exercise is meant to improve "military operations and to advance regional security operations."

"As you know, 'balikatan' means shoulder to shoulder. American forces will be shoulder to shoulder and will work alongside with the dedicated men and women of the AFP to train and improve our skills and readiness," said Simcock.

This year's Balikatan exercise will give emphasis to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, on top of actual military training. Crow Valley, Camp O' Donnell, Subic Bay, and Fort Magsaysay in northern Philippines will serve as venues for the exercise.

The joint military exercise will also feature a roundtable discussion focusing on disaster response. Countries in the Asia- Pacific including Australia, Cambodia, China, South Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Thailand have been invited to join the roundtable discussion with the Philippines and the United States.

AFP officials said this year's Balikatan exercise marks another milestone in the long-standing relations between the Philippines and the United States. The exercise is the biggest among the military training activities between the two countries and is based on the Philippines-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951.

 

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