THE top commander of the United States Pacific Command is in Manila for a two-day defense and security consultation meeting with Filipino defense officials.
Admiral Samuel Locklear 3rd will discuss with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Armed
Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista and Navy flag-officer-in command Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano several security challenges faced by the US and Manila.
Before proceeding to Manila, Locklear went to Malaysia where he was quoted by media as saying that the US will oppose attempts by any country to take control of the disputed Spratly group of islands in the West Philippine Sea, also known as South China Sea.
The Spratly island group is believed to be sitting on a rich oil and mineral deposit. It is being claimed in whole or in part by the Philippines, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei and Vietnam.
The US submarine tender USS Frank Cable and submarine USS Asheville will also be arriving in Subic Bay today for routine port calls.
The US Embassy in Manila said in a statement that the visits of these two military vessels will “highlight the strong historic community and military relations” between the two countries.
The two submarines will refuel and receive supplies while the crew will be given time to hold community service in nearby areas of Subic Bay.
The crew will also be given opportunities for “rest and recreation.”
The L.Y. Spear-class USS Frank Cable (AS-40) was commissioned in 1980. It is nearly 200 meters long and has a crew of 1,500.
The Frank Cable serves as the US 7th Fleet’s mobile repair and support platform. The ship is named after Frank Taylor Cable, one of the pioneers in the development of submarines for the US Navy.
Named after the city of Asheville, North Carolina and commissioned in 1991, the USS Asheville is a Los Angeles-class submarine. It is a 91-meter long submarine with a top speed of 32 knots underwater. Its home based is San Diego, California.
William B. Depasupil and Bernice Camille V. Bauzon