EDITORIAL - A statement worth making

EDITORIAL - A statement worth making

(The Freeman) - April 13, 2021 - 12:00am

There are now plans for Philippine soldiers to hold joint exercises with their counterparts in the US armed forces soon.

According to Philippine military chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, the wargames will be a limited affair with only about 700 US soldiers and up to 1,300 members of the Philippine military participating --a limited number because of the still-ongoing pandemic.

"The exercise this year is a hybrid of virtual and physical activities... It's a low-key exercise, just to keep the alliance — the contact — between the two armed forces," Sobejana was quoted as saying in a Philstar.com report.

While there is no reaction from Beijing yet, we can be sure they will show displeasure at our ongoing cooperation, especially where military exercises are involved, with the country they see as the biggest threat to their existence, interests, and economic expansion.

Let the games go on no matter what China says. Why should we care about how Beijing will react? They certainly didn’t care about how we reacted to the presence of their maritime militia/fishing vessels in our waters.

If we cannot show our displeasure at repeated Chinese intrusions by massing a strong-enough force to deter the Chinese presence in our waters, then one way we can do so is by conducting joint exercises with those they see as their bitter enemies.

We have said this before; it makes more sense for our troops to conduct joint exercises with the US as opposed to Chinese troops because if ever we go to war --and to clarify this is something we really don’t want to happen-- it will not be with the US, but the Chinese.

In fact, we can even go further to show our indignation by joining other countries in freedom of navigation patrols in disputed areas in the South China Sea. While it may be just as some say it is --that those patrols aren’t really exercises in freedom but pre-announced maneuvers designed to allow China to adjust to the situation-- like holding joint exercises with the US, it is still a statement worth making.

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