September 3, 2019 – Two Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) vessels, the destroyer Munmu the Great (DDH-976) and fast combat support ship Hwacheon (AOE-59), arrived in Pier 15, Manila South Harbor, Monday for a three-day goodwill visit to the Philippines.
Lt. Cmdr. Maria Christina A. Roxas, PN acting director for public affairs, said these naval ships are part of the ROKN Cruise Training Task Group comprised of more than 600 Navy personnel and around 100 cadets headed by its commander, Rear Admiral Yang Min Soo.
The South Korean ships were rendered the customary meeting point procedure off Corregidor Island by BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36) which later escorted them to their berthing place at the Manila South Harbor.
PN delegates led by the commander of the Littoral Combat Force of the Philippine Fleet, Commodore Rey dela Cruz, headed the welcoming ceremonies for the visiting South Korean naval personnel.
“[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,” he added.
Meanwhile, Yang thanked the PN for welcoming the Cruise Training Task Group adding that the visit coincided with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the Philippines and the Republic of Korea.
He also recognized the Philippines as the “first to dispatch ground forces to support the Republic of Korea during the Korean War”.
“ROKN will forever remember the noble sacrifice of Philippine forces… [the goodwill visit will be the] time to commemorate the war veterans and enhance exchange cooperation with the Philippine Navy,” Yang added.
The South Korean naval officer and his party are scheduled to have a courtesy call on the Flag Officer in Command, Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad and Philippine Fleet commander, Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo.
Also lined up are confidence-building activities between the visiting navy and their Filipino counterparts on the following days which include a shipboard tour, reciprocal receptions, sports events and joint performances in Luneta Park, Manila.
A send-off ceremony with customary Passing Exercise (PASSEX) will cap off said visit.
This interaction between South Korean and Philippine navies is expected to further strengthen the already strong ties between the two nations which can be traced back to 1949 when the Philippines became the fifth country to recognize the Republic of Korea, and during the Korean War in 1950s when the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea was deployed for the defense of ROK.
Today, ROKN is among the key defense partners of the PN as the latter looks to boost and modernize its capabilities.