- Two warships from the US strike group has visited the Philippines this weekend
- The crew will be conducting cultural exchanges with the Filipino community
- It was the same US fleet which was denied entry in Hong Kong early this month
MANILA, Philippines – The John C. Stennis Strike Group’s (JCSSG) two warships has docked at the Subic Bay and Manila ports on Saturday, May 21, as part of its routine port call while deployed in the disputed West Philippine Sea/South China Sea.
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93) and USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110 arrived in Subic’s Alava Pier around 9:00 am and is expected to sail to Manila the next day.
The warships are part of the JCSSG which is made up of Nimitz-class USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) with Carrier Airwing (CVW) 9 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21, USS Stockdale (DDG 106) guided-missile destroyer and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53).
The strike group is currently patrolling the West Philippine Sea as a direct challenge to China’s rapid militarization of fake islands in the Spratly’s.
“This is a great opportunity for our Sailors to see the sights and experience the warm hospitality of the Filipino people,” Rear Adm. Marcus Hitchcock from the US Embassy said in a statement.
“Many of our sailors look forward to reconnecting with family and friends in the local area,” the US official added.
The JCSSG is the centerpiece of the Great Green Fleet (GGF) which utilizes energy-efficient and energy-saving measures and procedures in its operations. It also participated in the US-PH Balikatan exercises held in the country last April.
Its crew of approximately 8,500 sailors will participate in cultural exchanges with Filipinos in community relations projects (COMRELS).
“Sailors plan to visit local elementary schools, cemeteries, memorials, and a medical center,” the statement read.
The JCSSG is the same US fleet which was denied entry in Hong Kong port early this month over political differences with China.
While Beijing did not specify the reason why it rejected the US strike group’s request for a port visit, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that such ship visits by foreign troops were made on a “case by case basis in accordance with sovereignty principles and specific circumstances.”