China: Philippines-US military drill must aim for peace
Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - May 6, 2014 - 10:35am

MANILA, Philippines — Defense treaty allies Philippines and United States should be dedicated to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific as they hold joint military exercises, China's foreign ministry said.

In a press conference, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said peace and stability in the region must serve the interests of concerned nations.

"We hope that relevant actions carried out by the Philippines and the US aim for that goal and help promote mutual trust among regional countries, as well as peace and stability of the region," Hua said as she reacted to the 2014 "Balikatan" exercises.

On Monday, more than 5,000 American and Filipino troops began two weeks of military exercises to prepare to jointly deal with any potential crisis in the Philippines.

Philippine and US officials said the exercises would focus on maritime security and disaster response, though they avoided linking the war games with their concern over China.

"Balikatan demonstrates that while the Philippines and the United States are mutually guided by the principle of peaceful resolution of conflicts, we shall develop our collective capacity to meet any threat to undermine peace and security," said General Emmanuel Bautista, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the exercises would strengthen the countries' capability to deal with increasing tensions "due to excessive and expansive maritime and territorial claims" and "aggressive patterns of behavior" that threaten regional peace and stability.

The exercises, which will be held in military camps in the northern and western Philippines including provinces on the edge of the South China Sea, arose from the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between Manila and Washington.

China, the Philippines, and other countries in the region have overlapping claims in the potentially resource-rich South China Sea, with Beijing trying to own virtually the entire contested body of water.

The Philippines has filed an arbitration case before an international tribunal but the tensions continue to intensify in the disputed sea. Earlier this year, Chinese coast guard ships have twice attempted to block Philippine ships bringing in food and fresh batches of marines to the Second Thomas Shoal. - with AP

AMERICAN AND FILIPINO ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES BALIKATAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERT FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON HUA CHUNYING GENERAL EMMANUEL BAUTISTA MANILA AND WASHINGTON MUTUAL DEFENSE TREATY PHILIPPINES SOUTH CHINA SEA
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