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Philippines, U.S. eye expansion of joint military exercise


17:16, April 17, 2013

MANILA, April 17 (Xinhua) -- The United States and the Philippines are keen on involving troops of other countries such as Japan and Australia in training activities during their annual military exercise, Philippine officials said on Wednesday.

This year's joint military exercise dubbed as "Balikatan 2013" officially closed on Wednesday in Metro Manila, the country's capital region. The closing ceremony was attended by high-ranking officials from the Philippines and the U.S.

Philippine Army Maj. Gen. Virgilio Domingo, exercise director of "Balikatan 2013," said expanding the joint military exercise into a "multilateral military engagement" will be beneficial to troops of participating countries.

Currently, the actual military training exercise under Balikatan is limited only to Filipino and American forces.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Terry Robling, commander of the U.S. Marine Forces Pacific, said he pitched the idea of drafting a "roadmap" which will be followed in future Balikatan exercises between the two countries.

The exercise is the biggest among the military training activities between the two countries and is based on the Philippines-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951.

This year's Balikatan, which officially kicked off on April 5, focused on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, on top of actual military training.


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