PH, US to hold naval exercises east of Palawan on June 22


The Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (Carat) naval exercise between the Philippines and the United States Navy will begin Monday (June 22) in east of Palawan amid the rising tension in the South China Sea.

The Carat 2015, a bilateral maritime exercise, will be conducted from June 18 to 30 in different areas of Palawan, according to Lt. Liezel Vidallon, Philippine Fleet public affairs officer.

The exercise aims to conduct combined naval operations in order to enhance interoperability between the Philippine Navy and United States Navy.

The exercise is expected to strengthen both navies’ combined capabilities in amphibious operations, special operations, surface warfare, and modern naval warfare.

The Carat events include Helo Crash and Salvage Drill, P3-Orion surveillance plane flight near the disputed waters, gunnery exercise at sea, and training aboard USS Fort Worth like deck landing qualification, visit board, search and seizure and weapon system.

Vidallon has said no exercise will be conducted on the disputed island as Carat is being conducted yearly.

“It’s just an annual bilateral training conducted to enhance interoperability between the two parties,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines will just stand by as China has completed its reclamations on the disputed waters.

“We have already proven that indeed China has put up reclamations in the area that is not consonance with the international law so it is up to the Department of Foreign Affairs (to proceed),” AFP Chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang said.

Catapang said the AFP would verify China’s statement that reclamations were over by conducting another reconnaissance flight in the area.

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