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Monday, 04 April 2016 - 16:35
US, Australian And Philippine Forces Start Combat Drills
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Thousands of U.S. and Philippine troops, along with Australian Special Forces, began annual drills Monday to prepare to quickly respond to a range of potential crises, including in the disputed South China Sea.

The exercises have been opposed in recent years by China, which is involved in territorial disputes in the South China Sea with several sides, including the Philippines, and suspects the drills are part of efforts to contain Beijing. Washington and Manila say that the drills are not directed against China, and that they also focus on preparing for natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter will fly to the Philippines to witness some of the 11-day exercises, said U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. John Toolan, who heads the roughly 5,000 American military personnel taking part in the maneuvers.

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