Last week the two navies patrolled the South China Seas over two days. The Americans sent an aircraft carrier, a cruiser, and two destroyers so the move was not merely symbolic. In April of last year 12,200 American, 5,400 Filipino, and 11 Australian soldiers participated in joint exercises in the region. Japan next?
In a move likely to raise China's ire, the Philippines and the United States initiated a two-day joint patrol on Wednesday, as confirmed by the Philippine military. This marks the second joint patrol this week, signaling an uptick in security engagements between the treaty allies.
The last patrols occurred in November of 2023 featuring military drills conducted over three days in waters near Taiwan and the West Philippine Sea. The Philippines refers to the South China Sea as the West Philippine Sea and claims it exclusively within its economic zone.
In this latest patrol, the Philippine military outlined that four vessels from the Philippine Navy participated. They were supported by four vessels from the American side which included an aircraft carrier, a cruiser, and two destroyers. General Romeo Brawner Jr., Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, described this joint military activity as a "significant leap" in Manila's alliance with the Americans highlighting the growing interoperability between the two military forces.
From the American side, General Brawner emphasized the strength of the alliance and stated, "Our alliance is stronger than ever, sending a message to the world. We are advancing a rules-based international order and a free and open Indo-Pacific region in the face of regional challenges."
Last week, Beijing warned against "provocations and harassment" by the Philippines, asserting that it would not turn a blind eye to such actions. Chinese state media has also accused Manila of relying on U.S. support to antagonize China continually.