Foreign ambassadors lauded the “SAMA SAMA” multilateral naval exercise in the West Philippine Sea in an effort to establish a rules-based order that ensures peace and stability in a region vital to global trade and commerce.
(From left, front row) US Navy Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, commander of the Seventh Fleet; Philippine Navy Vice Adm. Toribio Adaci Jr. and Commodore Joe Anthony Orbe, commander of Naval Forces Southern Luzon during the SAMASAMA 2023 opening ceremony at the Philippine Navy headquarters in Manila on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. (Photo from US Navy)
Ambassadors Koshikawa Kazuhiko of Japan, MaryKay Carlson of the United States, and David Hartman of Canada posted on X (formerly Twitter) to officially welcome the joint naval exercise, which would run until Oct. 13.
“I attended the reception on board JS Akebono en route to the joint exercise SAMA SAMA. The event represents our strong commitment to uphold rules-based regional order followed by the visit of (Japan, United States, and Australia) ships to Manila in August,” the envoy wrote.
The United States Embassy in Manila described the naval exercises as “stronger together.”
“The Philippines and the United States, along with (Australia, Canada, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom) officially began naval exercise SAMA SAMA, strengthening our countries’ maritime security operations in support of a #FreeAndOpenIndoPacific #FriendsPartnersAllies @Philippine_Navy,” the embassy’s post read.
This was also shared by Carlson.
Hartman said it was “a tremendous honor” to witness the commencement of the multilateral naval exercise.
“Canada is pleased to participate and join in with many of our multilateral partners committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he added.
The Canadian Embassy in Manila also tweeted about the launch of the event.
In photos, it showed members of the embassy team and crew of the HMCS Vancouver / NCSM Vancouver.
“This is the first time Canada has participated in SAMA SAMA. Over the course of the exercise we will operate alongside personnel from the #Philippines, #Australia, #France, #Indonesia, #Japan, the #UnitedKingdom and the #UnitedStates at shore and on the sea,” the embassy said.
“The participation of @HMCSNCSMVan is a tangible demonstration of #Canada’s readiness to deliver on its commitments to the #IndoPacific region, supporting our shared mission to uphold a rules-based international order, build interoperability, and enhance defence cooperation,” it added.
The SAMA SAMA Exercise, which kicked off on Monday, Oct. 2, jointly led by the Philippine Navy (PN) and US Navy.
While organizers said the exercises were not directed against China, this was launched amid Beijing’s aggressive actions in the region. — Raymund Antonio
Credit belongs to: www.mb.com.ph