Featured image: map of the South China Sea. Source: Nations Online Projects
Under the supervision of the United States, Australia and the Philippine government, are conducting military exercises in the waters of the South China Sea. Waters that are claimed almost entirely by the Chinese State. This military cooperation practice has been taking place since August 14th and will last throughout the month. The president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has been fast to describe this joint operation as “extremely important”.
These military exercises are mainly made up of Filipino soldiers, with 175, two platoons of Australian troops (about 96 soldiers) and 150 American soldiers. As reported by the revolutionary newspaper Ang Bayan, these exercises are part of Australia’s Indo-Pacific Endevor (IPE), “a series of military exercises that serve the US strategy of encircling and provoking war against China.”
It all started when China waterbombed at a ship carrying supplies at the damaged BRP Sierra Madre military outpost, located in the Spratly Islands group, Philippines. China justified the attack by saying that “illegal construction materials used to carry out large-scale reinforcement” were being transported in a disputed area. Since then, the US state has interfered several times and has begun to put pressure on Chinese ships to justify their presence through large ships and planes in the area.
As Ang Bayan reports: “Regardless of the danger it brings to Filipino fishermen and citizens, on August 21, the US and Australia conducted a ‘simulated air assault’ in the waters of Palawan using their own helicopters and jetfighters”. And they added that according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), under the total control and direction of foreign armies, they described these actions as “defense” of the country’s sovereignty.
Since that day, many more operations have been carried out. For example, between August 14th and 19th, the Pacific Airlift Rally was held under the direction of the United States, where 14th countries participated. Also on August 23rd, the Pacific Partnership was held in La Unión, with which they hide military operations exercises as “humanitarian assistance and disaster preparedness” work.
The Ang Bayan newspaper adds, “Along with the tiered war games being launched from EDCA sites,” [translator’s note: Enhanced Defense Cooperation Arrangement], US troops are making unilateral preparations to war within the territory of the country outside the authority of the nation’s state”. Since August 7th, the largest US military aircraft carrier has been in Philippine waters, with the participation of more than 13,000 troops from 33 countries. Also since that same day, the US military has been unilaterally flying helicopters and combat planes in the South China Sea, carrying out missions without the assistance of Philippine forces. On August 16th the Airborne Early Warning Squadron entered together with marines and naval forces the Philippine Sea. Since August 22nd, the South China Sea has been patrolled, including squads that carry out intelligence operations. Also on August 22nd, as the Philippines managed to get supplies to BRP Sierra Madre after the first attack, a US Poseidon aircraft, maritime patrol and surveillance plane, was flown.