A United States Navy submarine, the USS Charlotte, and a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, the USS Antietam have arrived in the Philippines amid rising tensions in the West Philippine Sea due to China’s increasing militarization in the region.
According to reports, the guided-missile destroyer moored in Manila on Tuesday, while the USS Charlotte docked at Subic Bay on Wednesday morning.
The USS Antietam “is on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific,” a US Navy statement said.
Meanwhile, the USS Charlotte is currently on a “six-month deployment to the US 7th Fleet area of operations,” according to a US news released.
“Charlotte will conduct important missions to strengthen theater security with strong partners throughout the region,” the report said.
The visit of the U.S. submarine and warship came days after the U.S. carrier strike group conducted routine operations in the West Philippine Sea.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, where $5 trillion worth of ship-borne trade passes every year, but Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have overlapping claims.
The US does not assert ownership of any territories in the South China Sea but has warned that Chinese aggression could harm global trade.
The US said that it will continue to “fly, sail and operate” anywhere that international law allows.