US and Filipino soldiers take part in an amphibious landing exercise at San Antonio, Zambales, Philippines. Photo: EPA
US and Filipino soldiers take part in an amphibious landing exercise at San Antonio, Zambales, Philippines. Photo: EPA

US-Philippine Balikatan military exercises in South China Sea ‘not a message to Beijing’, insists Manila

  • Naval drills that simulate repelling a foreign power from a Philippine island are not a response to China’s deployment of a large fleet to waters near Thitu – or Pagasa – island, claims President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman
  • Salvador Panelo also says his country has a “neutral stance” on America’s assertion of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea

US and Filipino soldiers take part in an amphibious landing exercise at San Antonio, Zambales, Philippines. Photo: EPA
US and Filipino soldiers take part in an amphibious landing exercise at San Antonio, Zambales, Philippines. Photo: EPA
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