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Watch fighter jet pilots pummel fake enemy ship off coast of Philippines

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The United States and Philippines held annual joint-training drills just off the Southeast Asian nation’s western coast on Wednesday.

Military forces sunk a "mock" enemy warship – the BRP Lake Caliraya, which was a decommissioned tanker – using airstrikes and high-precision rockets.

Video shows U.S. and Filipino F-16 and FA-50 fighter jets pummelling the vessel, which was made in China and launched in 2007, while naval and ground forces targeted it with anti-ship missiles.

It was sunk just over 15 kilometres from the coast of Laoag, which is off the northern part of Philippines' Ilocos Norte province.

Growing tensions in South China Sea

The drills, which involve nearly 16,000 Filipino and American troops, come at a time of escalating tensions in the South China Sea – particularly between China and the Philippines.

They also come just a week after a pair Chinese coast guard ships hit a Philippine coast guard vessel with water cannons in yet another confrontation in the South China Sea, causing significant damage, according to Philippine officials.

The repeated high-seas confrontations are sparking fears they could degenerate into a larger conflict that could further ratchet up tensions between China and the United States.

Late in 2023, The United States issued a warning to China, saying it respects a 1951 treaty and would defend the Philippines in case of an armed attack,

The warning came after Chinese ships blocked and collided with two Filipino vessels off a contested shoal. 

With files from Reuters

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