China wants military drills with Philippines – AFP

The Philippines’ military leader said Thursday that Beijing has discussed prospective war drills with Manila, as tensions over territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea remained high.

Gen. Romeo Brawner, the recently appointed chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), stated that the concept was proposed to him by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian.


“Well, they offered us that prospect but we’ll have to study it further…By the ambassador, they said they submitted some white papers so we’ll have to study it first,” Brawner said.

Brawner was the guest of honor at the Chinese Embassy’s celebration of the People’s Liberation Army’s 96th anniversary at a Mandaluyong City hotel.

“We are actually following the statement of our President, si President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr., when he said that we are friends to all, enemies to none,” Brawner said.


“So we will naturally toe the line… We try to establish relations with the armies, with armed forces around the world, at this is one way for us to actually prevent war,” he added.

The offer comes just weeks after the Philippines celebrated 7 years since the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of its claims on sections of the South China Sea within its exclusive economic zone, a judgement that China has consistently ignored.

Regardless, Ambassador Huang stated that President Marcos and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to resolve “maritime issues through friendly consultations.”


China wants military drills with Philippines – AFP

“As long as the consensus between our top leaders is implemented in real earnest, we will be able to see new progress in the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries, and contribute to peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Huang said.

“The PLA is a peace-loving and peace-preserving army. The development and growth of the PLA is tantamount to development and growth of the forces of peace in the world,” Huang added.

Numerous Chinese invasions have been documented in the West Philippine Sea after the Philippines’ arbitral win was announced.

48 Chinese fishing boats were spotted earlier this month swarming the Iroquois Reef, while 5 PLA Navy and Coast Guard vessels were also spotted close to Sabina Shoal.

A Chinese navy ship followed BRP Francisco Dagohoy as it headed back to Palawan from Pag-asa Island in June of last year.

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