Despite regional uncertainty and tensions between Washington and Beijing, the United States and the Philippine Armed Forces kicked off on Monday the two-week joint naval exercises to reinforce a close military alliance.

A Filipino acronym for “Cooperation of the warriors of the sea”, KAMANDAG runs until 14th of October. The exercises, which include island-based exercises in amphibious landings, live fire and humanitarian assistance, will involve 2,550 American and 530 Filipino troops. Bound by a 70-year-old Mutual Defense Treaty, the US and the Philippines have been holding exercises for decades. Joining the exercises as observers are US allies, Japan and South Korea.

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