US, Philippines conduct live-fire drill on South China Sea coast

The US and Philippine militaries have conducted a live-fire drill to practice repelling an invasion from the sea.

The exercise was held on Monday on a coast of the province of Ilocos Norte in northern Philippines that faces the South China Sea near Taiwan.

Anti-tank Javelin missiles and howitzers were launched at a target about one kilometer from the coastline. Machine guns were fired to prepare for preventing enemy troops from landing.

The exercise was held amid rising tensions over the South China Sea. On April 30, Chinese coast guard ships shot water cannons at Philippine patrol vessels near the contested Scarborough Shoal.

The US officer in charge of the drill denied that the exercise had China in mind, but mentioned a mutual defense treaty that obliges the United States to defend the Philippines.

The officer said all exercises are intended to ensure that the militaries will carry out their duties based on the pact.

The two militaries are believed to be trying to show their quick-response capabilities in the face of China's increasingly assertive behavior in the South China Sea.