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Australia and the Philippines introduced Saturday the beginning of joint air and sea patrols off the Southeast Asian nation, as they search to deepen their protection cooperation to counter China’s assertiveness within the area.

The “maritime cooperative exercise” comes days after the USA held an analogous train with the Philippines within the South China Sea, which Beijing claims nearly completely.

In a joint assertion, the Australian and Philippine protection chiefs mentioned the three-day patrols confirmed their “shared dedication to exercising freedom of navigation and overflight according to worldwide regulation.”

The Philippines will deploy two navy vessels and 5 surveillance plane to hitch Australia’s HMAS Toowoomba warship and a P-8A maritime surveillance plane.

The maritime patrols will probably be held contained in the Philippines’ unique financial zone, Philippine protection spokesman Arsenio Andolong mentioned.

In September, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos signed a strategic partnership that enabled the enlargement of cooperation in a number of areas from protection and safety to local weather change and schooling.

Marcos mentioned Saturday the joint patrols have been “a sensible manifestation of the rising and deepening strategic and protection partnership between our international locations.”

“We endeavor to boost bilateral interoperability in maritime safety and area consciousness,” Marcos mentioned on the social media platform X.

The long-anticipated Philippine patrols with the USA and Australia comply with a spike in tensions between Beijing and Manila over territorial disputes within the South China Sea.

Beijing’s expansive claims over the waterway strategy the coasts of different international locations — greater than a thousand kilometers from the closest main Chinese language landmass.

It has ignored a world tribunal ruling that its claims don’t have any authorized foundation.

China deploys boats to patrol the sea and has constructed synthetic islands that it has militarized to bolster its claims.

Marcos warned on Sunday that the Chinese language navy had “began to point out curiosity” in constructing bases on reefs that have been “nearer and nearer to the Philippine shoreline.”