2 more US warships in PHBy Frances Mangosing
MANILA, Philippines—Two more US warships are in the western part of the Philippines for a five-day goodwill visit amid military drills by China in disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Lieutenant Colonel Neil Estrella, spokesman of the Western Command, said the two guided missile destroyers — USS John McCain and USS Mustin– have been docked in Puerto Princesa in Palawan since Monday for a regular port call.
The ships are part of the USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group, the largest US aircraft carrier docked in Manila Bay since Wednesday along with two escort ships, the USS McCampbell and USS Cowpens, also for a goodwill visit.
It was not earlier declared by officials that USS John McCain and USS Mustin will be part of the USS George Washington’s entourage.
“Pagka ganyan di naman sila magkakadikit ng location but part of a group,” Estrella said.
All the US warships are part of the US Seventh Fleet based in Yokusuka, Japan.
The Marine officer did not say how many US warships are currently in the Philippine waters.
Amid the port visits of US ships, two Chinese vessels recently conducted military drills in the hotly-contested waters of the West Philippine Sea.
The exercise involved deployment of marine corps, helicopters, landing ships, infantry combat vehicles and speedboats.