Two ships in the service of the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN), Munmu The Great (DDH-976) and Hwacheon (AOE-59), classified as destroyer and fast combat support ship, respectively, berthed at Pier 15, South Harbor, Manila earlier today commencing a three-day goodwill visit to the country.
DDH-976 and AOE-59 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 Adm. Yang Min Soo.
The Philippine Navy (PN) vessel, Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Apolinario Mabini (PS36), rendered customary meeting procedure at the vicinity of Corregidor Island and escorted the vessels to their designated berthing area. PN delegates led by the commander of the Littoral Combat Force of the Philippine Fleet (PF), Commo. Rey Dela Cruz, then accorded the visiting South Korean Navy a welcome ceremony upon arrival followed by a port briefing on security and health aboard one of the Korean ships.
In his remarks, Commo. Dela Cruz said that 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.”
For his part, Rear Adm. 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 Republic of Korea.
He also recognized the PN as the “first to dispatch ground forces to support Republic of Korea during the Korean War”. “ROKN will forever remember the noble sacrifice of PH forces… [the goodwill visit will be the] time to commemorate the war veterans and enhance exchange cooperation with the Philippine Navy,” added the ROKN admiral.
Rear Adm. Yang and his party are scheduled to have a courtesy call on the Flag Officer in Command, PN, Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad and PF Commander, Rear Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo. Also lined up are confidence building activities between the visiting navy and their Filipino counterparts on the following days which include 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. NAVY.MIL.PH