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Washington cancels major Philippines maneuvers

Washington cancels major Philippines maneuvers

The US military has canceled a large-scale exercise involving thousands of troops in the Philippines because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision to scrap Balikatan 2020 was taken “in light of the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic and in the best interest of the health and safety of both countries’ forces,” AFP quoted US Indo-Pacific Command chief Admiral Phil Davidson as saying.

The war games, scheduled for May 4-15, would have involved more than 10,000 troops from the two long standing allies and a smaller contingent from Australia.

The US troops who take part in Balikatan, or ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ in Tagalog, usually come from bases in Japan and South Korea, which have reported coronavirus cases.