Philippines joins Japan, US, India in maritime cooperative activity in South China Sea
The Philippine Navy joined its counterpart from Japan, India and United States in a maritime cooperative activity in South China Sea on Tuesday.
Capt. Jonathan Zata, Philippine Navy spokesman, said the activity is being done while the participating navies are on their way to Changi, Singapore where the second phase of ADMM-Plus MARSEC FTX 2019 will be held after the first phase in Busan, South Korea last week.
“The maritime cooperative activity will transit through the West Philippine Sea within the week while enroute to the next phase of the ADMM plus Maritime Field Training Exercise to be held in Singapore,” he said.
"The travel itself is about five to seven days so currently they are still in transit. They are still on their way to Singapore, so they started the formation when they left Korea,” he added.
Lt. Maria Christina Roxas, Naval Task Group 80.6 public affairs officer, said during the week-long transit, the ships conducted a series of training exercises and social interactions.
“It will transit through the West Philippine Sea where a conduct of “freedom of safe navigation” is applied in support of a rules-based international system benefiting all countries,” she said.
“The Philippine Navy patrol vessel, BRP Andres Bonifacio joined in the quadrilateral sail with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force vessel, JS Izumo and JS Murasame, Indian navy ships INS Kolkata and Shakti , and the United States Pacific Fleet vessel, USS William P. Lawrence,” Roxas noted.
“ As with other naval exercises, this activity is expected to validate the decades of friendship, partnership and cooperative engagement that has been long established and observed between the Philippines, US, Japan and India,” she added.
Captain Roy Vincent Trinidad, who led the Philippine Navy delegation for the ADMM-Plus exercise, said “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,” he added.
Captain Jerry Garrido Jr., BRP Andres Bonifacio commanding officer, also expressed his belief the “bond of friendship with our regional partners is a strong as our commitment to maintain peace and stability and region.”
Roxas said Rear Admiral Hiroshi Egawa, commander of the JMSDF Escort Flotilla Division One, expressed gladness that the “JMSDF is part of this historic activity.”
“I look forward for more engagements with our partners in the region,” Egawa said.
Roxas said according to Commander Andrew Klug, USS William P Lawrence commanding officer “the team was really excited to take part in this multilateral event.”
“Professional engagements with our allies, partners and friends in the region allow us the opportunity to build upon our existing, strong relationships, as well as learn from each other,” Klug said.
Roxas added that the Indian Navy noted “the group sail aimed at enhancing maritime cooperation, synergizing maritime engagements, sharing best practices and standardizing operating procedures.”
The ADMM-Plus MARSEC FTX 2019 which runs from April 29 to May 14 2019 is joined by other navies from Australia, Brunei, China, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, New Zealand and Russia are observers. Robina Asido/DMS