Thousands of US troops to join annual war games in Philippines
Posted : Thu, 29 Jan 2009 08:00:09 GMT
Author : DPA
Manila - More than 5,000 US troops were due to arrive in the Philippines to participate in annual joint military exercises, a military spokesman said Thursday. The annual Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercises aim to enhance the preparedness and cooperation between the two forces in times of crisis and conflict, Major Ramon Zagala said.
From 5,500 to 6,000 US troops were expected to participate in the war games, which are be held mainly in the eastern region of Bicol from February 25 to April 30, Zagala said.
The bulk of the US troops would arrive on March 16.
About 2,500 Filipino troops would also join the exercises, Zagala said.
He said Washington would spend at least 2 million dollars on the exercises and would bring in a number of warships and aircraft, including F-16 fighter planes.
Representatives from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and the United Kingdom would observe the war games.
Balikatan 2009 is to be the 25th annual event of its kind under the Mutual Defence Treaty between the United States and the Philippines.
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