In a first, Philippines, US, Japan and India navies sail in South China Sea
MANILA, Philippines —The navies of the Philippines, United States, Japan and India sailed together for the first time in the South China Sea in a bid “to promote maritime cooperation throughout a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
The ships were en route to Singapore for the second phase of the Asean Defense Ministers Meeting Plus Maritime Security Field Training Exercise (ADMM -Plus MARSEC FTX).
The Philippine Navy’s BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17) joined ships from Japan’s JS Izumo (DDH-183) and JS Murasame (DD-101), India’s INS Kolkata (D63) and Shakti (A57), and the U.S. Navy’s USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110).
“The group sail showed the active participation of the Philippine Navy as it strengthens its relationships with allies and partners in the Asia Pacific region. This gives us another opportunity to learn from like-minded navies,” Capt. Roy Vincent Trinidad, the Philippine Navy’s head of delegation, said in a statement Thursday.
“Our bond of friendship with our regional partners is as strong as our commitment to maintain peace and stability in the region,” said Capt. Jerry Garrido, commanding officer of BRP Andres Bonifacio.
The ships were sailing from Busan, South Korea, the venue of the first phase of the ADMM-Plus MARSEC FTX.
They conducted a series of training exercises and social interactions during the week-long voyage to Singapore.
“The opportunity of a multi-sail with U.S. Navy and regional partners was a great experience. In addition to building mutual understanding and trust, it also served as a way to enhance peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Rear Adm. Hiroshi Egawa, commander, Escort Flotilla 1.
“Events like this provide opportunities for like-minded navies to train together and promote maritime cooperation throughout a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the U.S. 7th Fleet said.
The ships sailed through the international waters of South China Sea where a conduct of “freedom of navigation” is applied in support a rules-based international system benefiting all countries, the Philippine Navy said. /muf
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