US Navy warship arrives in Manila

Michael Punongbayan, Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — A United States Navy warship is in the Philippines for a “contactless” routine port visit.

The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston arrived in Manila on Monday, the first time that a commissioned US Navy warship has visited the country since 2019.

In consideration of COVID-19 safety protocols, Charleston’s visit was contactless, with its crew remaining aboard the ship where they were afforded rest during the replenishment of supplies.

According to the US Defense Department, the visit highlights the strong alliance, military relationship and renewed engagements between the Philippines and US.

“Our US Navy ships’ presence at sea and in ports such as Manila promote security and stability for the benefit of regional countries,” Vice Admiral Karl Thomas, commander of the US Seventh Fleet, said.

“We appreciate the flexibility to resupply our ships in the Philippines so that they are ready to support a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” Thomas added.

The port visit came weeks after US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited the country, when the Philippine government announced its decision to recall its withdrawal from the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US.

“The US security commitment to the Philippines is iron-clad, and that commitment…extends to the South China Sea,” Austin said during the visit.


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