Philippines and US military officers attend launch event for joint training drills

(22 Apr 2024)
RESTRICTION SUMMARY:

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Manila – 22 April 2024
1. Wide of opening ceremony
2. Various of officers and military forces saluting while US and Philippine national anthems are played
3. Mid of Philippine and US flags
4. Mid of Philippine exercise director Maj. Gen. Marvin Licudine and US exercise director Lt. Gen. William Jurney unfurling the Balikatan flag
5. Various of Licudine, Jurney, Chief of Staff of the Philippine Armed Forces Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Robert Ewing and Philippine Armed Forces Chief of Staff for Education, Training, and Doctrine Gen. Noel Beltran posing with the Balikatan flag
6. Mid of audience applauding
7. Wide of Jurney walking to lectern
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Lt. Gen. William Jurney, US exercise director:
“Over 16,000 members from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States military are training together this year. In doing so we will demonstrate that the mutual defense treaty between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines is no mere piece of paper.”
9. MId of camera operator
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Lt. Gen. William Jurney, US exercise director:
“Balikatan ’24 gives us the opportunity to demonstrate advanced, multi-domain, cross-functional combined operations across a full range of missions. In short, we are going to show the people of the Philippines and the world that we’ve gotten better and we’re never going to stop doing so.”
11. Various of Licudine, Brawner Jr., Ewing, Beltran and Jurney posing for a photo with linked arms
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., Chief of Staff of Philippine Armed Forces:
“It is not a partnership of convenience but rather a clear reflection of our shared history and unwavering commitment to democracy and respect for international law, in our pursuit of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region.”
13. Wide of opening ceremony
STORYLINE:
American and Filipino forces launched their largest combat exercises in years Monday in a show of allied firepower near the disputed South China Sea that has alarmed Beijing.

The annual exercises by the longtime treaty allies will run until May 10 and involve more than 16,000 of their military personnel, along with more than 250 French and Australian forces.

While the Philippine military maintains that the Balikatan — Tagalog for “shoulder-to-shoulder” — training is not directed at a particular country, some of their main conflict scenarios are set in or near the disputed South China Sea, where Chinese and Philippine coast guards and accompanying ships have figured in a series of increasingly tense territorial faceoffs since last year.

In encounters in disputed areas, Chinese coast guard vessels have resorted to water cannons, blocking and other dangerous maneuvers that have caused injuries to Philippine navy personnel and damaged supply boats.

The Philippine military said a key focus of this year’s drills is territorial defense.

As the disputes between China and the Philippines have escalated, US President Joe Biden and his administration has repeatedly warned that the United States is obligated to defend the Philippines, its oldest treaty ally in Asia, if it is attacked.

U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. William Jurney said during the opening ceremony that the large-scale military exercises will demonstrate that the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between the U.S. and the Philippines “is no mere piece of paper.”

AP video shot by Iya Forbes

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