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Philippines and U.S. Hold Joint Maritime Exercises in South China Sea Amid Tensions

The Philippines and the United States conducted joint maritime exercises in the South China Sea, marking the third instance of such drills since November last year. The security engagements underscore the deepening defense ties between the two treaty allies. Tensions have risen in the South China Sea, with disputes between the Philippines and China over territorial claims.

Amid heightened tensions in the South China Sea, security engagements between the treaty allies have witnessed a significant increase in the past year, with the Philippines and China exchanging blame over territorial disputes in the region.

These joint exercises have irked Beijing, which perceives U.S. involvement in the region as interference. The drills aim to demonstrate a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific while fostering close cooperation to enhance maritime capabilities, according to Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Romeo Brawner.

China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, a vital route for over $3 trillion of commercial shipping annually. The region is a source of disputes involving the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.

China’s extensive coastguard fleet has been accused by the Philippines of aggressive actions that violate international law, while China insists on protecting its territory in the region.

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