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Philippines to continue to build alliances and stage joint combat drills in South China Sea, offical says

Meanwhile, China continues naval drills off the coast of Taiwan

THE Philippines will continue to build alliances and stage joint combat drills in disputed waters to defend its territorial interests, Defence Secretary Gilberto Teodoro said today.

Mr Teodoro bluntly criticised Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea, without citing China by name, in a speech before the military’s top brass at a ceremony marking the anniversary of the Philippine navy’s founding in Manila.

Since territorial hostilities with China surged last year in the region, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jnr’s administration has taken steps to forge new security alliances with a number of Asian and Western countries and allowed a US military presence in more Philippine bases under a 2014 defence pact.

Meanwhile, Taiwan tracked dozens of Chinese warplanes and navy vessels off its coast today, the second day of a large military exercise launched by Beijing to show its anger over the self-governing island’s inauguration of new leaders who refuse to accept its insistence that Taiwan is part of China.

China has issued media statements showing Taiwan being surrounded by forces from its military, the People’s Liberation Army.

A new video on Friday showed animated Chinese forces approaching from all sides and Taiwan being enclosed within a circular target area, while simulated missiles hit key population and military targets.

Despite that, there was little sign of concern among Taiwan’s 23 million people, who have lived under threat of war since the two sides split during a civil war in 1949.

Taiwan’s parliament was mired today in a dispute between political parties over procedural measures, while business continued as usual in the capital Taipei and the ports of Keelong and Kaohsiung.

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