MANILA, Philippines – USS North Carolina, the United States submarine that arrived in the Philippines amid the ongoing Scarborough Shoal dispute, left the Philippines as scheduled Saturday, May 19.
The nuclear-powered submarine arrived in Subic Bay in Zambales, which is near the disputed Scarborough Shoal, last May 13.
In a report on ANC, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said another US submarine was scheduled to arrive Saturday. The arrival of the expected submarine, however, did not push through either because it was cancelled or postponed indefinitely.
USS North Carolina’s visit, which aimed to showcase “the latest capabilities of the (US) submarine force,” came as the Scarborough Shoal standoff between the Philippines and China entered its 5th week.
The Palace has denied its arrival is connected to the dispute. A Southeast Asia maritime analyst, however, says otherwise.
“Virtually undetectable when submerged and bristling with an array of cruise and anti-ship missiles, the deployment of the submarine is meant to send a strong message to China that the US is prepared to defend the Philippines in case of attack,” said Alec Almazan, who works as an analyst for the London-based Lloyd’s List Intelligence Unit, in a Thought Leaders piece for Rappler.
China has shown agitation over US involvement in the Scarborough Shoal dispute. – Rappler.com