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MANILA, Philippines – Two South Korean warships docked in Manila on Monday, September 2, for a friendly visit, marking 70 years of diplomatic ties with the Philippines.
The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) destroyer Munmu The Great (DDH-976), fast combat support ship Hwacheon (AOE-59) pulled into Pier 15 of the Manila South Harbor on Monday morning. The ships belong to the ROKN Cruise Training Task Group, with more than 600 sailors and around 100 cadets headed by commander Rear Admiral Yang Min Soo.
“The presence of these two Korea Navy vessels and its contingent underscores the continuing efforts of the Philippines and Korea to strengthen the relationship between our governments and navies,” said Littoral Combat Force of the Philippine Fleet (PF) commander Commodore Rey dela Cruz during a welcome ceremony onboard Munmu The Great.
Yang acknowledged the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) as the first ground troops to assist South Korea in the Korean War, saying the ROKN “will forever remember the noble sacrifice of PH forces.” He added that the visit will commemorate war veterans and enhance cooperation exchange with the Philippine Navy (PN).
On August 20, the Philippines welcomed the BRP Conrado Yap, a refurbished Pohang-class corvette donated by South Korea. Named after a Philippine Army captain killed in action during the Korean War in 1951, the Conrado Yap is the PN’s most powerful vessel do date.
Talks are underway between the two countries for the possible donation of two more Pohang-class corvettes, as the Philippine government considers acquiring two brand new corvettes from the South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).
HHI is constructing two frigates for the PN expected to be delivered in 2020.
During their 3-day visit, the South Korean crew will have several engagements with their counterparts in the PN, including tours of the ships, receptions, sports events, and joint performances at the Luneta.
Yang will pay a courtesy call on Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad and PF Commander Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo.
The Philippines was the fifth country to recognize the Republic of Korea in 1949, when official ties were established between the two countries. – Rappler.com