By Francis Wakefield
The Philippine Navy (PN) will send for the first time a contingent that will participate in the Chinese navy’s fleet review this April.
The fleet review will be held on April 23 in the city of Qingdao, eastern China, to mark the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the country’s navy.
According to Captain Jonathan V. Zata, the Director of the Naval Public Affairs Office, details are still being ironed out regarding their participation in the activity.
“Details are still being firmed up regarding the PN’s (Philippine Navy’s) participation to the PLA-N Fleet Review,” he said in a text message.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who joined Navy Chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad as they toured last Sunday (January 20) the guided-missile frigate Wuhu (539) on port visit to Manila, also confirmed the PN’s participation on the annual activity.
However, on the question of what ship or ships will be sent to the Chinese navy’s fleet review, Lorenzana said that will be answered by Vice Admiral Empedrad.
“Confirmed. For details ask FOIC (Flag Officer in Command),” Lorenzana said.
The guided-missile frigate Wuhu (Hull 539) is one of the three Chinese warships which recently arrived in Manila for a four-day goodwill visit.
The two other ships of the Chinese Naval Task Group are the guided-missile frigate Han Dan (Hull 579) and replenishment ship, Dong Ping Hu (Hull 960).
The ships arrived last January 17, 2019 at Pier 15, South Harbor, Manila for a four-day goodwill visit which lasted Monday, January 21, 2019.
Zata said the Philippine Navy’s participation to the Chinese navy’s fleet review is in keeping with President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy of engaging not only with our traditional ally and strategic partners but other countries as well.
“The Navy through its naval diplomacy role maintains good relations with other countries’ navies while safeguarding our country’s maritime interests,” Zata said.