Malaya, Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay however said the exercises, dubbed Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) has nothing to do with the renewed territorial dispute over the Spratlys in the West Philippine Sea, also known as the South China Sea.
Tonsay said the annual training exercises would be pursued east of Palawan or in the Sulu Sea from June 28 up to July 8. The Spratlys - claimed by the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei - is located west of Palawan.
Tonsay said the three US ships taking part in the exercises are USS Chung-Hoon and USS Howard, which are classified as destroyer ships; and USNS Safeguard, a rescue and salvage ship. He could not immediately say how many US servicemen will take part.
He said the USS Chung-Hoon is currently somewhere in international waters in the West Philippine Sea.
The CARAT exercises have been held for more than 10 years. The US is also conducting similar exercises with Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
Tonsay statement’s came after Vietnam began yesterday conducting live fire exercises in its claimed territory in the South China Sea.
Like the Philippines, Vietnam recently accused China of violating its sovereignty.