US, Philippines begin annual drills in disputed South China Sea

SpaceWar.com reports: “The United States and the Philippines launched annual joint naval war games on Monday, days after the latest diplomatic row between Manila and Beijing over the disputed South China Sea.

More than a thousand sailors from the two allies are taking part in the annual ‘Samasama’ (Tagalog for Together) anti-submarine, surface and electronic warfare drills off Manila and the south of Luzon, the main island of the Philippines.

China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost in its entirety despite a 2016 international ruling that it has no legal basis, has become a growing concern for Washington and its regional allies.

US Seventh Fleet chief Vice Admiral Karl Thomas told sailors at an opening ceremony in Manila that the rights of all nations to ensure national sovereignty were ‘under attack every day on the high seas’.

The ‘rules-based international order’ that guaranteed regional peace for decades has been ‘ripped at and tagged at and tested to benefit not all nations but one nation,’ he said, without mentioning China specifically.

‘There’s no better way to ensure sovereignty and security than to sail and to operate together,’ Thomas said…”

View Original Article