U.S. aircraft carrier George Washington visits Philippines

18:21, September 04, 2010      

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The United States Navy aircraft carrier USS George Washington of the U.S. 7th Fleet docked at the Manila Bay Saturday morning, kicking off a four-day visit which the Philippine military said paves the way for a stronger military relation between the two countries.

The aircraft carrier, on board of which are some 5,000 crew members, was given clearance by the Philippine government to conduct the visit and was welcomed by Philippine military officials.

The U.S. aircraft carrier crew will "participate in a series of military-to-military professional exchanges" with their counterparts from the Philippine Navy, the aircraft carrier's Public Affairs Office said in a statement, adding that the U.S. sailors will lead tours of the ship and host a reception in the ship's hangar bay for military and government officials.

In August, 2009, the U.S. aircraft carrier came to the Philippines for a similar visit. During that visit, around 7 million U.S. dollars were spent in hotel bookings, sight-seeing, shopping and other activities, according to the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Philippines had been a Spanish colony since the 16th century. General Emilio Aguinaldo declared independence of the Philippines on June 12, 1898, with the help of the United States which defeated Spain in the Spanish-American war.

It was placed under the American rule the same year and was given internal self-government in 1935. The country was occupied by Japan during the Second World War and American rule was restored after the surrender of Japan in 1945. It became independent on July 4, 1946.

There are growing indications that the United States is seeking to restore a military presence in the Pacific archipelago country after the George W. Bush administration launched an international anti-terror war following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Although the United States has so far no fixed military bases in the Philippines, military exercises between the two countries have steadily risen in recent years. There are currently some 500 U.S. special forces service-members stationed in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao under the Visiting Forces Agreement, which entered into force in 1999 and governs the treatment of U.S. service-members in military units and defense personnel who are on the Philippine territory for short periods for joint military exercises approved by both the Philippine and U.S. governments.

Source:Xinhua

(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

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