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US, Philippines forces conduct military drills in S. China Sea

KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 (KUNA) -- US and Philippines forces conducted military drill off the northern coast of the Philippines days after their government's protest against China's action in the regional water of the South China Sea.
Commander of the US First Marine Expeditionary Lieutenant General Michael Cederholm, told the Filipino media that the exercise was "to prepare for the worst" by "securing key maritime terrain" and that the training location was "designed to repel invasion".
Thousands of Filipino and US troops were conducting land, sea and air maneuvers against a backdrop of increased confrontations between Chinese and Filipino vessels around shoals in the South China Sea claimed by Manila, as well as stepped-up Chinese air and naval activity around nearby self-ruled Taiwan.
Whereas Beijing claimed almost the entire South China Sea despite an international ruling that its assertion has no legal basis.
This came days after the defense ministers of the Philippines, the United States, Japan and Australia met in Hawaii and issued a joint statement on their strong objections to the "dangerous and destabilizing conduct" of China in the South China Sea.
Last week, Manila said that the Chinese coast guard damaged a Philippine coast guard ship and another government vessel in attacks with high-pressure water cannons around disputed Scarborough shoal which china controls in the South China Sea. (end) aab.sm