US, Japanese, Philippine coast guard ships stage law enforcement drills
U.S., Japanese and Philippine coast guard ships staged law enforcement drills in waters near the disputed South China Sea on Tuesday as Washington presses efforts to reinforce alliances in Asia amid an increasingly tense rivalry with China.
The drills, witnessed by journalists onboard a Philippine coast guard patrol boat, the BRP Cabra, included a scenario involving the interdiction and boarding of a vessel suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction off the Bataan Peninsula, Philippine coast guard spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo said.
The U.S. Coast Guard is deploying one of its most advanced cutters, the 418-foot (127-meter) Stratton, in the June 1-7 exercises hosted by the Philippines, Washington’s oldest treaty ally in Asia. The Stratton has been conducting exercises in the region to share expertise in search and rescue and law enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard said.