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US Navy’s ‘USS Fitzgerald’ makes a port call in Subic Bay

Olongapo, Philippines — The US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, has arrived at Subic Bay Port in Zambales on Saturday, April 1st, for minor repairs.

The brief port call “highlights the strong community and military connections between the Philippines and the United States,” the United States Embassy said in a press statement.

“The ship’s crew will use the stop to conduct some minor repairs with the assistance of Philippine companies,” the US Embassy added.

The USS Fitzgerald is forward-deployed to the US 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, the US Embassy added.

The US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald was in Manila back in November 2015, for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting attended by the former US President Barack Obama.

The USS Fitzgerald arrived at the former US naval base in Subic Bay as the Philippines and US militaries prepared for the first Balikatan program under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose foreign policy places emphasis on hammering out stronger ties with nations like China and Russia.

The “Balikatan” is the biggest of dozens of joint activities between the the United States and the Philippines bound by a Mutual Defense Treaty. President Rodrigo Duterte recently threatened to scrap the yearly joint military exercises, but was proved superior upon to do otherwise. Duterte imposed limitations on the “Balikatan” military exercise instead.

Despite Duterte’s verbal attacks against the United States and then President Barack Obama early in his term, the former has said that the Philippines will continue fostering strong ties with the USA, the Philippines’ oldest and most powerful ally. – Velvetiere.com

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