MANILA (Agencies): The Philippines and the United States will hold annual maritime military drills dubbed Samasama from October 2-13 in the southern part of the island of Luzon, the Philippine armed forces said on Wednesday.
“The Philippine Navy is set to host this year’s iteration of the PH-US Exercise SAMASAMA that is scheduled from 02 to 13 October 2023 at the Naval Forces Southern Luzon (NFSL) Area of Operations. SAMASAMA is a bilateral exercise between the United States Navy (USN) and the Philippine Navy (PN),” the armed forces said in a statement.
The exercises are expected to enhance the Philippines’ naval warfare capabilities, such as the offshore combat force for maritime security operations, and “cover the fundamentals of anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-air warfare, and electronic warfare,” the statement read.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday that Beijing had advised the Philippines to avoid any provocations in the disputed areas of the South China Sea. Earlier this week, Philippine newspaper The Manila Times reported that the Philippines had removed the floating barriers in the South China Sea, saying they were illegally placed by the China Coast Guard near the disputed area of Scarborough Shoal. Scarborough Shoal is located about 123 miles west of Subic Bay and is claimed by the Philippines, China and Taiwan.
The training will also involve the navies of Japan, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom to improve maritime integration and combined interoperability, conduct exchanges of subject matter experts and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief events, the statement added.
The drills will be held in the disputed waters of the South China Sea to counter China’s influence in the region.