PH not expecting violent reactions from China due to Balikatan – DND chief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 12) — The Philippines is not expecting any negative reactions from China as the Southeast Asian country holds its largest joint military exercises with the United States and other allies, Department of National Defense Officer-in-Charge Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Wednesday.

"We've been doing Balikatan yearly. We don't expect any violent reaction, considering that these exercises are intended for our collective defense with the US and other allies," Galvez said in a joint media briefing with US and Philippine officials.

With over 17,500 combined troops from the US and the Philippines, the 38th iteration of Balikatan, the largest ever, kicked off on Tuesday.

WATCH: PH, U.S. troops stage biggest-ever 'Balikatan'

The Armed Force of the Philippines also aims to develop the country's cyber defense capabilities through the annual military drill with the US.

With US-China tensions rising due to the Taiwan issue, Beijing has warned against the Philippines’ Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US, but it has not commented on Balikatan.