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South China Sea

Philippines, U.S. hold biggest-ever drills to counter China

War games follow plan to allow U.S. to access strategic Philippine bases

A Filipino and U.S. soldier fire their rifles during a joint military drill in the northern Philippines on March 31. (File photo by AP) 

MANILA -- The Philippines and the U.S. on Tuesday launched their largest-ever joint military drills, stepping up their defense alliance amid an increasingly assertive China.

In a show of force, 17,600 troops from both countries are taking part in a series of war games until April 28 to enhance their interoperability in areas such as live-fire drills and maritime security.

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