US soldiers in the exercise (Source: VNA)
 
Hanoi (VNA) – The Philippine and US armies on May 18 reaffirmed their alliance and joint commitment to addressing security challenges as they ended the year’s largest exercises in the Southeast Asian country.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the annual Balikatan (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) exercises, Philippine Defence Undersecretary Cardozo Luna highlighted the commitment to strengthening long-standing security alliance, considering it a cornerstone of stability and security.

The Balikatan exercises helped build ready and effective forces, capable of responding to security challenges. This annual activity allowed the US and Philippine forces to work together for potential real world events, he said.

The Philippines and the US signed the Mutual Defence Treaty in 1951, ensuring each other's security assistance in times of armed attacks. The Balikatan exercises and other military training and drills are anchored on the treaty.

This year's Balikatan, the 34th since 1991, lasted 12 days to enhance joint collaboration against terrorism and in humanitarian activities. As many as 5,000 US and 3,000 Philippine soldiers joined the event.

Japanese and Australian military personnel also took part as observers.-VNA