BEIJING, April 7 (ChinaMil) -- The 11-day U.S.-Philippines joint military exercise “Exercise Balikatan 2016” is underway, and the large scale of this exercise has attracted world attention. The Japan Self Defense Forces (JSDF) also participated in the exercise as an observer.
The “Muscle-flexing” through the Balikatan Exercises reflects a mindset of some countries which is hard to voice: they ignore the overall tone of peaceful development in the Asian-Pacific region, cook up the so-called "surrounding threats", and show their so-called "cooperation relationship" through frequent bilateral and multilateral military exercises.
However, such “Muscle-flexing” is totally in vain.
As is known to all, there is a huge gap between the U.S. and the Philippines in terms of military strength, and it is impossible for the two countries to conduct any substantial joint exercises. The so-called joint operations are just playacting where the "servitor" follows his "master".
The U.S.-Philippines Balikatan Exercises started in 1991 and have been conducted for more than 30 times. However, as the "little follower" of the U.S. military, the Philippine military has not got any real benefits except for some secondhand weapons from the U.S. military over the years. Its combat capability has not been improved effectively, instead, it tends to rely more and more on the U.S. military.
Therefore, many military observers, including those Philippine observers, believe that the Philippine military "still lags behind".
In the final analyses, the symbolic meaning of this joint military exercise is greater than the substantial meaning. The U.S., the Philippines and Japan have their own purposes behind the exercise.
The Philippines tries to create a "fact" that the U.S. supports the Philippines, and "Americanize" the territorial disputes over the South China Sea, draping itself in a tiger-skin to intimidate people.
Japan is anxious to realize its strategic intention of "becoming a normal state", and has been more active after it lifted the ban on collective self-defense.
The U.S. hopes to turn the Western Pacific countries such as the Philippines into its power projection platforms in the name of "exercises", or even agitate them to act as its "pawn" if necessary to realize its strategic intention.
However, there is one thing that each party knows well: the “Muscle-flexing” is just a step of the U.S. on its chessboard in the Asian-Pacific region.
Major-General Raul del Rosario of the Philippine Air Force, pointed out that the joint military exercise is part of Version 2.0 of the U.S. "Asia-Pacific rebalance" strategy.
The U.S. has been projecting power to the Asian-Pacific region since it promoted its so-called "Return to Asia" and "Asia-Pacific Rebalance" strategies in 2009, and aggravating contradictions and adding fuel to the fire are just its usual tricks and wishful thinking, according to Raul del Rosario.
We should see that situations are changing and the times are progressing. The win-win cooperation is the overall situation of the development of the Asian-Pacific region.
The military cooperation should also aim at promoting regional peace and stability. Causing chaos in a region and destroying the overall stability in the Asian-Pacific region eventually damage the fundamental interests of the Asia-Pacific countries, including the United States.
China has always followed a peaceful path of development and never "threatened" any country. Regarding the disputes concerned, the Chinese government has repeatedly made it clear that China is dedicated to full and effective implementation of Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, steadily pushes forward the negotiation of the Code of Conduct on South China Sea, and handles differences and disputes through negotiations.
Therefore, relevant countries should seek the path of win-win cooperation in the Asian-Pacific region "side by side" (Balikatan is a Tagalog word meaning "shoulder-to-shoulder"), instead of put on “Muscle-flexing” which harms others without benefiting themselves.
The article is an editorial of Xinhua News Agency and is translated by China Military Online.