Philippine and Vietnamese navies have been playing soccer, volleyball and tug-of-war games together on a South China Sea island, the latest get-together by two countries concerned with Chinese assertiveness in the disputed waters.
The two sides played in mixed teams on Thursday on Southwest Cay in the Spratly archipelago, the Philippine navy said. That was the third event of its kind since 2014 on an island held four decades ago by the Philippines, but now under Vietnamese control.
The games are among a series of exchanges between two countries, quietly demonstrating their unity in the face of Beijing’s expanding presence and signs of militarization of manmade islands in the Spratly chain.
Ariesh Climacosa of the Philippine Naval Forces West said the games showed how the two sides could get along and would trust and understand each other better.