Philippines, US fire at ‘invasion’ force in South China Sea war games

SpaceWar.com reports: “US and Filipino troops fired missiles and artillery at an imaginary ‘invasion’ force during war games on the Philippines’ northern coast Monday, days after their governments objected to China’s ‘dangerous’ actions in regional waters.

Thousands of troops are conducting land, sea and air manoeuvres 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.

US troops massed at a strip of sand dunes on Luzon island’s northwest coast — around 400 kilometres (249 miles) south of Taiwan — let loose more than 50 live 155mm howitzer rounds at floating targets about five kilometres off the coast, AFP journalists saw.

Filipino troops followed up by firing rockets aimed at wearing down the attackers, before the two forces finished the job with machine guns, Javelin missiles and more artillery rounds.

Lieutenant General Michael Cederholm, commander of the US First Marine Expeditionary Force, said the exercise was ‘to prepare for the worst’ by ‘securing key maritime terrain’.

‘It’s designed to repel an invasion,’ Cederholm told reporters at the exercise site…”

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