Philippines-U.S. annual joint exercises start on May 8: embassy

Zhang Tao

MANILA, April 24 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine and the United States militaries are set to hold their annual joint exercises, the U.S. embassy in Manila said on Monday.

According to a statement, the Philippine and U.S. annual exercises, called Balikatan or Shoulder-to-Shoulder, will kick off on May 8 and run until May 19 on multiple locations in the Luzon Island and the Visayas region in central Philippines.

The U.S. embassy said military forces from Australia and Japan will participate in all major training events. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has invited military forces from several other nations to be part of the international observers.

The statement did not say how many troops from both sides will participate in this year's Balikatan military drills.

The U.S. and the Philippines conduct three major joint exercises and 28 minor cross-training exercises every year. Balikatan is the biggest and the most comprehensive among the several annual joint military exercises.


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