Author Topic: Expanded Balikatan drills to include Japan, Australia  (Read 3176 times)

adroth

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Expanded Balikatan drills to include Japan, Australia
« on: April 21, 2018, 01:29:35 PM »
Expanded Balikatan drills to include Japan, Australia
Reuters

Posted at Apr 19 2018 06:47 PM

http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/04/19/18/expanded-balikatan-drills-to-include-japan-australia

MANILA—Annual US-Philippine military exercises involving thousands of troops will be expanded for the first time to include other countries, with Japanese and Australian forces invited to join what will be the 34th edition of the "war games."

The Philippines and the United States have been holding the "Balikatan" drills annually to test the readiness of their militaries to respond to threats that include natural disasters and militant extremist attacks.

The US embassy in Manila said in a statement on Thursday Australia and Japan, two US allies countries with strategic partnerships with the Philippines, would join the exercises taking place in multiple locations on the main island of Luzon, starting on May 7.

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« Last Edit: April 21, 2018, 01:52:32 PM by adroth »

adroth

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Re: Expanded Balikatan drills to include Japan, Australia
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2018, 01:55:34 PM »
Balikatan 34-2018
By U.S. Embassy in the Philippines | April 20, 2018

http://www.pacom.mil/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/1500010/balikatan-34-2018/

MANILA, Philippines -- The Government of the Philippines has invited U.S. forces to train alongside the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the 34th iteration of Balikatan (BK), from May 7 to 18, at multiple locations in Luzon.

Philippine and U.S. forces began community engagement activities in Luzon today prior to the official start of the exercise. U.S. and Filipino service members are working together to renovate five schools and conduct medical engagements with local residents in the opening days of the twelve-day military training activity. These community outreach projects mark the beginning of several information exchanges and live training events between the two militaries.

Balikatan 34-2018 is an annual U.S.-Philippine multilateral military exercise focused on mutual defense, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief. This year’s exercise will focus on interoperability training events designed to enhance the capabilities of both the U.S. and Philippine armed forces. The training will emphasize mutual defense operations so both nations can more effectively employ forces and provide assistance in the event of crises that endanger public health and safety.

U.S. and Philippine service members will conduct humanitarian civic action activities throughout Luzon during BK 34-2018. The exercise will also demonstrate cooperation and interoperability between the U.S. and Philippines, consistent with the Mutual Defense Treaty and Visiting Forces Agreement. To improve their ability to coordinate a multilateral response to crisis, the two militaries will continue their commitment to train and share information.

The U.S. and Philippines will work with regional partner nations throughout BK 34-2018. Multinational forces from the U.S., Philippines, Australia, and Japan will participate in all major training events, and the AFP has invited the United Kingdom to observe training for the mitigation of post-disaster suffering.

dr demented

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Balikatan 2018
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2018, 03:17:15 PM »
http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1034523

Quote
Annual military exercises enhance PH security

By Priam Nepomuceno May 8, 2018, 1:46 pm

MANILA -- The annual "Balikatan" exercises is aimed at improving Philippine security, stability, and development.

This was emphasized by Philippine Balikatan exercise director Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat during Monday's opening ceremonies.

"Balikatan 34-2018 is a significant military exercise where the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the US military primarily shared a commitment in moving together to contribute to our country’s security, stability, and development. This is an annual activity particularly aimed at the Philippine-US partnership, cooperation, and commitment to Mutual Defense Treaty," he added.

He added the annual military training exercises manifest the long-standing relationship between the AFP and US Armed Forces.

"We will extend this commitment to strengthen our alliance and learn from both forces to improve our inter-operability.”

“This year’s focus is to enhance our capability and cooperation for humanitarian assistance and disaster response and counter-terrorism activities," Salamat pointed out.

In this year's Balikatan exercises, around 5,000 soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors from the AFP along with 3,000 coming the US Marines, Navy, Air Force and Special Operations Force will be participating in the two-week maneuvers which started May 7 and will end on the 18th.

Around 20 personnel from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and 60 from the Australian Defense Forces will also participate as observers in the above-mentioned exercises. (PNA)

dr demented

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Re: Expanded Balikatan drills to include Japan, Australia
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2018, 03:19:47 PM »
http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1034503

Quote
PH troops told to learn everything from 'Balikatan' allies

By Priam Nepomuceno May 8, 2018, 12:43 pm

MANILA -- Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez on Monday told participating Filipino troops in this year's "Balikatan" exercises to learn from their American, Australian and Japanese counterparts.

"I now urge the Filipino soldiers participating in this exercise to make the most of this opportunity to learn from and to teach your American, Australian,and Japanese counterparts," Galvez said.

Galvez also instructed participating AFP personnel to strengthen their relationship with the above-mentioned allies and partners.

"Work with them to identify the gaps in our increased inter-operability and competencies. Observe and learn from them that you may improve yourselves and your units," the AFP chief stressed.

In this year's "Balikatan" exercises, around 5,000 soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors from the AFP along with 3,000 coming the US Marines, Navy, Air Force and Special Operations Force will be participating in the two-week maneuevers which started May 7 and will end on May 18.

Around 20 personnel from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and 60 from the Australian Defence Forces will also participate as observers in the above-mentioned exercises.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said this year's "Balikatan" will focus on inter-operability training to address traditional and non-traditional security concerns.

"Through this exercise, we hope to improve our counter-terrorism capabilities in order to build safer communities and work towards the eradication of global terror networks," the defense chief disclosed.

"We hope that through this activity we will have a stronger teamwork while we endeavor to our common vision of developing long term cooperation and effective inter-operability between the Philippines and the United States and our allies," he added. (With reports from Ericka Cirera, OJT/PNA)

dr demented

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Re: Expanded Balikatan drills to include Japan, Australia
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2018, 03:38:43 PM »
https://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/us-philippines-kick-off-largest-multinational-drills-since-duterte-took-office-1.525737

Quote
US, Philippines kick off largest multinational drills since Duterte took office

By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 7, 2018

The United States and the Philippines have begun their largest multinational drills under President Rodrigo Duterte, who sought to scale down America’s military presence in his country after taking office in June 2016.

About 8,000 U.S. and Philippine troops on Monday kicked off the 34th iteration of the annual Balikatan exercise — which means “shoulder to shoulder” in Tagalog — that runs through May 18 in the Philippines.

The U.S. has sent 3,000 servicemembers to this year’s drills — about the same number as last year — while the Philippines has increased its participation to 5,000 personnel from the 2,800 who participated in 2017.

The drills come a week after CNBC reported that China had deployed surface-to-air and anti-ship missiles on disputed South China Sea islands, and a month after the Wall Street Journal said electronic jamming equipment on those islands was targeting U.S. Navy planes in the area.

 The U.S. and the Philippines have clashed with China over access to disputed South China Sea waters. In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in the Philippines’ favor in a dispute with China over fishing access to Scarborough Shoal. China has ignored the ruling, and Duterte sidestepped the issue in a bid to establish closer relations with Beijing.

China’s missile deployment could change the Philippines’ approach to the South China Sea, which has involved moving exercises away from Scarborough Shoal, said Collin Koh, a research fellow for the Maritime Security Programme at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines have been willing to obey the instructions of the president in terms of de-escalating but now the military might want a much harsher stance,” he said. “That could mean forces deployed to Palawan or amphibious landing exercises near Scarborough Shoal.”

 Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Gregory Cronen, a spokesman for the exercise, said Balikatan is not tied to any current events.

“This year’s exercise focuses on improving the effectiveness of U.S.-Philippine humanitarian aid and relief, and counter-terrorism efforts in response to a scenario-based crisis,” he said in an email.

U.S. forces brought aid to the Philippines after 2013’s deadly Typhoon Haiyan and provided training and support to Filipino troops battling Islamic State militants in the southern city of Marawi last year.

The Marawi battle coincided with an uptick in U.S.-Philippines military ties, which had strained over Duterte’s violent war on drugs and his efforts to draw closer to China and Russia.

On Friday, the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, announced it would provide $3.5 million to build shelters for 58,000 people displaced by the Marawi fighting, protect women and children, repair water and sanitation and stimulate the local economy. The U.S. has spent $26.4 million responding to the conflict.

Last month, the allies broke ground on the first major project under an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement — a warehouse at Cesar Basa Air Base on the island of Luzon where the U.S. will store equipment.

More facilities for American forces are to be built under the agreement at Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation, Lumbia Airfield, Antonio Bautista Air Base and Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base, according to the State Department.

Balikatan is being held at multiple locations on Luzon, according to the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

“The training will emphasize mutual defense operations so both nations can more effectively employ forces and provide assistance in the event of crises that endanger public health and safety,” the embassy said in a statement.

American units involved in Balikatan include elements of the Okinawa-based III Marine Expeditionary Force, the Army’s Hawaii-based 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, the Navy’s Guam-based Task Force 75 and various Air Force units flying A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, C-130 and C-17 transports and HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters.

The Marines have brought four MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and some amphibious vehicles, while the Army is moving in CH-47, UH-60 and HH-60 helicopters.

Sixty Australian Defence Force troops and 20 Japan Self-Defense Forces personnel are also involved in the drills, Cronen said.