The U.S. plans on carrying more military and humanitarian drills regarding the Asia-Pacific region. The increase comes along the lines of a new strategy aimed at countering the rapid expansion of China in the South China Sea, as commented by the Philippine military on Wednesday.
Admiral Harry Harris, U.S. Pacific Command commander, pointed out the major aspects of the all new Asia Pacific Maritime Security Strategy drafted by the Pentagon, while discussing the matter with his Filipino counterpart, General Hernando Iriberri, while he was visiting Manila.
Colonel Restituto Padilla, a spokesman for the military, commented in front of journalists that the report shed light on the set of actions planned by Washington for the disputed East China Sea and South China Sea, focusing on the need for better protection regarding “freedom of seas” as well as promoting adherence to national laws and requirements and deterring sources of conflict and coercion.
China has laid claims towards most of the South China Sea, which accounts for approximately USD 5 trillion in annual ship-born trade volumes. Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei have also come out with claims that overlap one another and have made the situation rather problematic.
According to a military source present at the meeting between Iriberri and Harris, expectations are for the Philippines to increase the amount, frequency and level of exercise drills in the region.
Ever since the land reclamation efforts of China started back in December of 2013, it has managed to reclaim over 2,900 acres (1,170 hectares) of land (a valid figure as of June this year), as reported by the Pentagon last week among the lines of a report regarding its Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy.
The Pentagon reports makes it quite clear that China’s reclamation campaign managed to greatly outweigh efforts initiated by the other above-stated claimants in the aspects of size, pace and approach.
China comments the outposts are going to come along with undefined (as of the moment) military purposes, and contribute towards helping various maritime search and rescue operations, navigation procedures and disaster relief missions.