Philippines, US begin joint military exercise
Troops from the US and the Philippines have begun an annual military exercise called Balikatan (Shoulder to Shoulder) after a ceremony held in Manila on April 4.
The 11-day drill draws the participation of about 5,000 US soldiers and 4,000 Filipino troops along with 80 from Australia.
US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter is scheduled to fly to the Philippines next week to observe the drill and visit US Navy ships taking part.
The Balikatan is an annual event aimed at improving the Filipino forces’ combined planning and combat readiness, as well as promoting inter-operability between the armies of the US and the Philippines.