PH, US plan over 500 bilateral military engagements in 2024

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 16) — Manila and Washington have set over 500 bilateral engagements to strengthen cooperation between their militaries in 2024, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Saturday.

These engagements include "exercises and high-level exchanges between the allied nations, matters of security cooperation activities, and the strategic vision including maritime security, information sharing, and capacity and capability development, among others," read the AFP statement.

The AFP said these plans were discussed with the US Indo-Pacific Command during their annual meeting, which was concluded on Thursday at the AFP General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

According to AFP chief General Romeo Brawner Jr., the joint activities signify the two countries' "commitment to further strengthen our cooperation, ensuring that both militaries are equipped and well-prepared to respond to evolving security challenges."

Brawner and US Indo-Pacific Command head Admiral John Aquilino also agreed to expedite the completion of projects for the nine existing Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites in the Philippines, which could temporarily host US military logistics and personnel.

Aquilino reported earlier this week that they have added 63 more EDCA projects on top of the 32 previously announced.

The two countries also reaffirmed their commitment to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region, as well as the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, which establishes obligations to support one another in the event of an armed attack on either country.

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