Philippines, U.S. kick off largest-scale joint military drills amid protests

2023-04-12 Editor : Luo Pan ECNS App Download

Protesters held a "lightning rally" in front of the gate of the Armed Forces of the Philippines headquarters in Quezon City, the Philippines, early on Tuesday, a few hours before the official start of the Balikatan exercise in the Philippines. They urged the Philippine government to trash the military agreements with the United States.  

Protesters burned American national flags at the site and chanted for American troops to leave the country.  

More than 17,000 Philippine and U.S. troops on Tuesday kicked off the most extensive joint military activities in decades in the Philippines amid criticisms that it escalates tension in the region rather than peace and stability.  

According to the Philippine military, the 18-day yearly exercise dubbed Balikatan involves 5,400 Philippine and 12,200 U.S. troops.  


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