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South Korea seeks more naval drills with Philippines
Published on: Friday, May 26, 2023
By: Manila Times
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South Korea seeks more naval drills with Philippines
BANGKOK: After assisting the Philippines in its modernisation programme, the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) now wants to take it a step further by having “more future engagements to strengthen the strategic relationships” between the two countries.

Admiral Lee Jong-Ho, Chief of the Naval Operations of ROKN, expressed this during a courtesy call on Vice Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr., flag officer in command, at the Philippine Navy Headquarters said Capt. Benjo Negranza, Naval Public Affairs Office director said Wednesday.

“The two leaders discussed the continuing partnerships between the two nations during the visit that served as a good follow-through to the engagements that the PN and ROKN have had over the last several months,” said Negranza.

He said during the meeting, Lee congratulated the Philippine Navy for its successful activities and “eyed more future engagements to further strengthen the strategic relationships between the Philippines and South Korea.”

Adaci, on the other hand, expressed his gratitude to his counterpart for their continuous support of the Philippine Navy’s modernization program, particularly in the manufacture of several ships that are now being used in patrolling the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, Negranza said.

In December 2021, Korea Shipbuilding and Offshore Engineering Co. won a 583-billion-won ($470-million) contract to build two patrol frigates for the Philippines.

The BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) and BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) were both built by Hyundai Heavy Industries and are now in service. Two corvettes and six offshore patrol vessels are currently being built by the South Korean shipyard.

The Philippine Navy also acquired its most powerful ship to date, the BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39), an ex-Pohang class corvette (a small warship), which was donated by South Korea to the Philippines. Two more “Pohang” class corvettes are on the way.

Negranza said Adaci also emphasized the sustainability of Navy-to-Navy talks between the two countries as he finds it highly beneficial for both.

“We learn a lot from you and it is one way for us to discover avenues of cooperation in terms of education and training, and modernisation,” he told his South Korean counterpart.

The most recent Navy-to-Navy talks between the Philippine and South Korean Navies were held in Busan, South Korea on Dec. 1, 2022.

The highlight of the talks focused on education and training, people-to-people exchanges, logistics cooperation, combined exercises and ship visits.

Australian Foreign Minister and Sen. Penny Wong in a visit to the Philippines this May said her country was committed to continuing its presence in the WPS and South China Sea to maintain peace and stability in the region and was “open to cooperating with all partners to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight,” adding, “The Philippines is a long-standing important security partner for us.”

The United States, a long-standing ally of the Philippines, has identified four new areas in the country where it would house its arms and supplies under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the two countries — a move that has angered China.

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