IN PHOTOS: PH, U.S., Japan, India flex muscles in South China Sea

MANILA, Philippines – Navies from the Philippines, United States, India, and Japan flexed their muscles in the disputed South China Sea after coming together for the ASEAN-Plus Defense Ministers' Meeting Maritime Security Field Training Exercise (ADMM-Plus MARSEC FTX) 2019 in Busan, South Korea.

"Navies from the Philippines, India, Japan, and the US transited international waters to Changi, Singapore, where the second phase of ADMM-Plus MARSEC FTX 2019 will be concluded," the Philippine Navy said in a statement on Thursday, May 9. (READ: South China Sea covered by PH-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty – Pompeo)

The four-country fleet was comprised of the following vessels

According to the Philippine Navy, the exercise aimed to "deepen the partnership" among the allies, oil up their coordination, and promote "freedom of safe navigation in the region."

The sail came as China continues with its rapid and intrusive expansion in the South China Sea, which has reached even the part that belongs to the Philippines.

Here are photos of their trip:

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.