- The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines against China’s claim over the majority of the South China Sea
- The USS Curtis Wilbur, part of the United States 7 Fleet, arrived in Manila to conduct community relations projects
- The move hopes to ensure peace and stability within the South China Sea
The USS Curtis Wilbur, an American guided missile destroyer, docked in Manila last Wednesday, July 20, for a routine port call.
According to the US Embassy in Manila, the visit of the destroyer “highlights the strong historic, community, and military connections between the Philippines and the United States.”
Part of the United States 7 Fleet, the Arleigh burke-class guided missile destroyer hopes to help ensure peace and security within the West Philippine Sea and the surrounding areas.
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The arrival of the missile destroyer comes about a week after the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines, declaring that China’s claim of the “9-dash-line” carries no legal basis.
The ship’s crew will partake in a series of community relations projects to better strengthen Philippine-American ties. The service members of the ship will also enjoy the Filipino culture.
"This port visit is an opportunity to experience another culture and act as ambassadors to the Philippines. The importance of our presence here, both at sea and in port, cannot be overstated," said the ship’s assistant damage control officer Lt. J.G. Ben Sleiter.
The ship is named after Curtis Wilbur, the 43 Secretary of the Navy.
The United States is one of the oldest allies of the Philippines, conducting much joint regional security, counterterrorism, and transnational crime fighting operations. The arrival of the missile destroyer is one of the actions of the US in their hopes to counter China’s growing aggression within the region.
The US has already reassigned two Hamilton-class cutters to the Philippines for the purpose of patrols within the South China Sea.
Although the United States is not allowed to establish permanent bases in the Philippines, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) have allowed US troops to conduct military activities within the Philippines. - Kami Media