THE annual military exercises held by the US and the Philippines in the South China Sea will end on Friday. But this year, Washington won’t be bringing its troops back home.
The Chinese Defense Ministry has said that joint US-Philippine patrols in the South China Sea was the epitome of the mentality of the Cold War.
On Thursday, Pentagon chief Ashton Carter met with Filipino President Benigno Aquino, and said that the United States would join the Philippines in patrolling the South China Sea. According to media reports, there are currently joint US-Philippines drills underway in the South-Pacific country, and after the drills are over, the US servicemen and hardware are expected to stay in the Philippines for extra time.
“The US and the Philippines strengthen the military alliance, reinforce the military presence [in the region], conduct joint exercises that is the manifestation of the mentality of the Cold War, and peace and stability in the region do not benefit from this,” the Chinese Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The US-Filipino actions may lead to the militarization of the region, the ministry added, insisting that their cooperation must not affect the interests of third countries.
The South China Sea is home to a number of islands and maritime areas, disputed by Brunei, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
In January, Carter and Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin met in Washington, DC, where they discussed building a stronger joint defense posture and enhancing their territorial and maritime defense capabilities.