The Philippine military announced that the Philippine-U.S. joint military exercises codenamed "shoulder to shoulder" opened on April 20. People’s Daily reported on a CCTV interview of China Institute of International Affairs researcher Teng Jianqun, who commented on the military exercises. Teng said that more than 10,000 people from both sides took part in the exercises, more than double the number from last year. In addition, the exercise site was only 220 km. away from the nearest Chinese Huangyan Island. The sudden increase in the number of people in the exercises is indeed surprising. It is a manifestation that the United States and the Philippines have ulterior motives in the South China Sea. The Philippines chose to use the exercise area close to China in order to intimidate China.
People’s Daily: The U.S. and the Philippines Held Joint Military Exercises to Intimidate China
Teng pointed out that, in 1991, after the end of the Cold War and according to the law, the United States should have withdrawn all of its troops from the Philippines. The United States offered to conduct joint military exercises with the Philippines so that that it could continue to station its troops there.
Teng stated that the U.S. and the Philippines’s military alliance has a long history. The United States has been providing military protection for the Philippines and has a large number of long-term troops stationed in the Philippines, especially since Aquino took office. He has tried to win over the United States to strengthen their military presence in the Philippines. In the current military deployment in the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and other countries, the U.S. has basically achieved its "Air Sea Battle" strategic plan in the South China Sea.
Teng said, "According to figures released by the United States itself, the number of U.S. military exercises in the Asia-Pacific region each year will reach 170-200. The U.S. will have a military exercise almost every other day. Military exercises have become a symbolic action of the United States’ return to the Asia-Pacific."
Source: People’s Daily, April 21, 2015