LOOK: Chinese vessels dock in Manila
MANILA, Philippines — For the next four days, Chinese warships will stay in South Harbor in Manila for a goodwill visit.
Guided-missile frigates Wuhu (Hull No. 539) and Handan (579) and replenishment ship Dongpinghu (960) of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy arrived on Thursday morning at Pier 15.
Philippine Fleet deputy chief Commodore Wilfredo Burgonio welcomed the Chinese contingent headed by Rear Admiral Xu Haihua.
Both the Philippines and China are maritime adversaries over the South China Sea. In May 2018, a Chinese navy chopper harassed a Philippine Navy ship on a resupply mission in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea.
The Philippine government publicly dismissed it as an isolated case but quietly filed a protest over the incident.
The Chinese PLA Navy will hold goodwill games and a tour of their vessels for Philippine Navy personnel.
Navy public affairs chief Capt. Jonathan Zata said the Chinese navy contingent would pay a courtesy call to Flag Officer in Command Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad on Saturday.
Top Navy officials are currently in Cebu for a command conference.
“The visit aims to strengthen the relationship between the two navies. It will further enhance military to military exchange and mutual trust through naval diplomacy and camaraderie,” Zata said.
This is the second time that Chinese warships visited the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte.
When he won as President in 2016, Duterte reached out to China for improved relations and played down the territorial dispute in favor of economic aid and investments from China. /cbb
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