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Will USA- Philippines Exercises In South China Sea A Moment Of Irritation For Beijing?

In the waves of the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, the USA and the Philippines have begun their largest military drills in decades, which is certain to enrage Beijing. More than 17,600 military personnel will participate in annual drills by the old treaty friends called Balikatan. This is the Tagalog for “shoulder to shoulder.” The drills will continue till April 28. Live-fire drills and a rocket attack designed to sink a boat will also be part of the training.

It will be the most recent American firepower demonstration in Asia, where Washington has cautioned Beijing repeatedly about its activities against Taiwan and in the disputed maritime corridor. It comes in the light a day after the dragon country China made three days of military drills in close proximity to Taiwan in retaliation for President Tsai Ing-meeting wen’s with USA Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Defying China, USA House leader and Taiwan president present a united front.

The efforts by the USA administration.

In order to effectively fight China, especially for the actions of potential conflict over its ‘so-called’ part Taiwan, the US administration has been fortifying an Indo-Pacific arc of allies. This is in line with the country’s efforts commanded by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to protect its territorial interests in the waves of the South China Sea by landing its feet in joint military drills with the US and granting rotating groups of American forces permission to stay in more Philippine military bases in accordance with a 2014 defence agreement.

The drills, the biggest in Balikatan’s three-decade history, involve over 12,200 American military personnel, 5,400 Filipino forces, and 111 Australian troops. According to USA and Filipino military authorities, a display of USA warships, fighter planes, Patriot missiles, Himars rocket launchers, and anti-tank Javelins will take place.

Colonel Michael Logico, a Filipino spokesperson for Balikatan, informed before the start of the manoeuvres that they were not agitating anyone by only training. Logico made the following points very clear.

  • This acts as a type of preventative measure. When they prevent other parties from occupying them, that is a powerful deterrent. 
  • They will use every weapon system they have, including land, naval, and aerial ones, to attack it.
  • As part of the live-fire drills, USA and Filipino forces would launch a synchronised airstrike and artillery bombardment against a target vessel that is 200 feet (61 metres) long in Philippine territorial waters.

China–USA relations.

The long-running tensions revolving in the territories of China, the Philippines, and a quadruple of other states, and Beijing’s bird eye to “reunify” Taiwan, using military force if necessary, have set Washington and Beijing on a collision path.

China issued a warning last week against a growing American military presence in the area. That would only increase tensions and reduce peace and stability in the region. These stringent words are given by Mao Ning, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, who made the remarks during a routine press briefing in Beijing.

Recently, the USA 7th Fleet stationed the guided-missile destroyer named USS Milius within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, a coral outcrop that Manila claims but which China took over in the middle of the 1990s and turned into one of seven missile-protected island bases in the contentious Spratlys archipelago in the waves of the South China Sea. For years, the USA Navy has carried out these “freedom of navigation” operations to counter China’s sweeping territorial claims in the busiest seaway.

The United States will continue to protect the rights and freedoms of the sea granted to all; the 7th Fleet stated, as long as some nations continue to seek constraints on rights that exceed their jurisdiction under international law. There should be no intimidation or compulsion of any member of the global community to renounce their rights and liberties.

There are many ways where the attempts of the US are triggering irritation in China.

  • The first one can be the helping hand of the US towards Taiwan to become a China-independent territory in the future, which China hates as it considers Taiwan a part of Chinese territory under the ‘one-china’ concept.
  • The next one is that the US is concerned by China’s increasing strategic importance in the South Pacific.
  • Moreover, there are recent moments where IMF is entangled between the dragon country and the Superpower country US.

Dangerous fatalism about a US-China war.


It seems that these exercises, which are conducted in the name of army drills, will catalyse the dragon and force them to show its dominion over the others. Time will tell how China will react to these moves!

Priyanka Chakraborty
Priyanka Chakraborty
Chakraborty is a Digital Journalist at Inventiva who drafts content on current social topics. Her forte is documenting opinionated content based on data, facts, and numbers while adhering to media ethics, which go beyond simply crafting news headlines. Her core intent in writing such content is that every word her viewers read should give meaningful insights to their time spent on the articles.


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