In order to counter China’s rapid expansion in the South China Sea, a new strategy of the United States is to increase the number of military and humanitarian drills it conducts in the Asia-Pacific. Philippine military said on Wednesday.

Pentagon’s freshly drafted Asia Pacific Maritime Security Strategy were highlighted its key aspects by Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, during talks with his Filipino counterpart, General Hernando Iriberri, in his visit to Manila.

AFP-Spokesperson Colonel Restituto Padilla Jr.

Military spokesman Colonel Restituto Padilla told journalists that the report outlined Washington’s set of actions in the disputed South China Sea and East China Sea, focusing on the protection of “freedom of seas”, deterring conflict and coercion, and promoting adherence to international law.

A  source from a military official who was in the meeting between Harris and Iriberri told Reuters that the U.S. and the Philippines are expected to increase the size, frequency and sophistication of exercises in the region.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims.

The Pentagon said last week in a report on its Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy that  China’s land reclamation efforts began in December 2013, it has reclaimed more than 2,900 acres (1,170 hectares) of land as of June 2015.

images (3)

Also in the Pentagon report, China’s reclamation campaign significantly outweighed efforts by other claimants in size, pace and nature.

China says the outposts will have undefined military purposes, as well as help with maritime search and rescue, disaster relief and navigation.

By: Jason E.