Philippines, Australia navies kick off maritime security exercises

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-10 17:19:18|Editor: Zhou Xin
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MANILA, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- Philippine and Australian navies began a 22-day joint maritime exercises in the waters off western Mindanao Island in southern Philippines, the Philippine armed forces said on Friday.

"The engagement involves a series of meeting procedures, planning and coordination for the conduct of the combined patrols in the western Mindanao. This is likewise in support to the anti-terrorism and piracy campaign of the government," said Rear Admiral Rene Medina, commander of Philippines Naval Forces Western Mindanao.

Two Royal Australian Navy Vessels -- Her Majesty Australian Ship (HMAS) Larraika and HMAS Maitland -- anchored in Zamboanga City pier.

Medina said four Philippine Navy vessels will also be used in the exercises that run from Nov. 10 to Dec. 1.

Aside from enhancing maritime cooperation, Medina said the joint activities are designed to secure the vast maritime domain of the Sulu Sea, where the exercises will be conducted.

"This will prove that the Philippine Navy does not work alone in protecting and maintaining the peace, order and stability in its area of responsibility," he said, adding that the Philippine Navy and the Royal Australian Navy have "a strong relationship when it comes to maritime patrol and security."

Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne announced last month that her country is readying a mobile military team to provide Philippine troops with urban warfare counterterrorism training.

Payne said this latest arrangement is part of the agreement between Canberra and Manila to enhance counterterrorism cooperation to prevent the IS militants from establishing a geographic foothold in the region.

She said Australian Defense Force (ADF) mobile training teams of approximately 80 will be posted to selected military bases in the Philippines to conduct urban warfare counterterrorism training "in the coming days".

The ADF will expand its assistance to the Armed Forces of the Philippines to strengthen its long-term ability to combat terrorist threats and prevent the spread of "Daesh" to the region. Daesh is another term use for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to conduct trilateral naval patrols in the waters bordering them, a military cooperation that is hoped to detect pro-Islamic State extremists in that region.