South Korea, Philippines To Strengthen Naval Cooperation Between Both Navies

Lee Jeong-sup, South Korea’s Minister of National Defense, met his Philippine counterpart, Delfin Lorenzana on June 3rd. Foremost on the meeting’s agenda was cooperation between the two countries on naval issues.

To begin with, Lee expressed his support for the Philippine Navy’s offshore patrol vessel (OPV) program.Hyundai Heavy Industries was selected as the builder for six such vessels earlier last month. It is believed that the new vessel will be based on the company’s HDP-1500 Neo design.

The Philippine Navy’s increased ability to operate South Korean-built warships will greatly enhance its overall capabilities.

Lee Jeong-sup, South Korean Minister of National Defense

Lorenzana also expressed his appreciation for the assistance provided by the South Korean Armed Forces in modernizing the Philippine military. Moreover, he said that he hopes the two countries will continue to cooperate in the future.

The OPVs mark the latest chapter in South Korean-Philippine maritime cooperation. South Korea has been the largest supplier of naval vessels to the Philippines in recent years, delivering the BRP Jose Rizal in 2020. The country will also supply two more corvettes by 2026, while talks regarding submarines have been ongoing since 2021.

Lee and Lorenzana also discussed South Korean participation in Exercise KAMANDAG 2022 which will be held in October. Exercise KAMANDAG is a joint U.S.-Philippine Marines Corps exercise that usually involves around 2,100 troops. This year marks the first time South Korea will participate in the event. Moreover, both the Philippine Navy and the Republic of Korea Navy are participating in Rim of the Pacific 2022. Lee said that military cooperation between these two countries during the above-mentioned exercises will lead to increased cooperation on maritime security.

Lorenzana also expressed support for South Korea’s new government during the meeting.

The Philippines government thinks very highly of the efforts made by the new administration in South Korea to denuclearize North Korea and will continue to provide unending support towards this cause.”

Delfin Lorenzana, Philippine Secretary of National Defense

Other issues discussed during the meeting include the formation of a vice-ministerial joint military committee, which had been delayed due to COVID-19, and greater cooperation between other branches of the military.

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