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South China Sea

Philippines and US boost defense ties amid South China Sea feud

Military drills kick off in show of alliance that Duterte played down

Troops from the Philippines and the U.S. take part in the "Balikatan" exercises in May 2018. (File photo by AP)

MANILA -- The Philippines and the U.S. on Monday kick off two weeks of military drills in a showcase of their defense alliance amid a fresh feud between Manila and Beijing over the disputed South China Sea.

The resumption of the annual exercises comes as officials from both countries recently discussed tensions in the disputed waters. They also expressed hopes on the future of their alliance, which has been thrown into uncertainty by President Rodrigo Duterte's efforts to move closer to China.

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