United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) chief Admiral Harry Harris will be meeting with Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-staff Gen. Hernando DCA Iriberri on Wednesday.
“It will be the first meeting between the two military commanders,” according to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato confirming the US Pacific Command head visit in the Philippines. Admiral Harris will be accorded full military honors during his visit at the AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, sources have reported.
Chief Col. Detoyato said that Admiral Harris and Gen. Iriberri will discuss important matters and security concerns of the Chinese reclamation and construction activities at the West Philippine Sea.
“The purpose of the visit is to discuss bilateral security concerns with the Philippines and gain local perspective on the security situation in the Pacific, where his troops are deployed,” Detoyato said.
Admiral Harris will also meet with Armed Forces Western Command chief Vice Adm. Alexander Lopez in Palawan, the province nearest the disputed Spratlys in the West Philippine Sea.
“He will also be going to Palawan but the topic is just bilateral security concerns…, He has to get a very good perspective on what is happening on the ground. That is why he wanted to visit Adm. Lopez so that he can be personally briefed by the commander,” Detoyato stated.
The AFP public affairs office chief emphasized that the US Pacific Command chief Harris visits to the Philippines is also official in nature as Harris also intends to visit other Filipino government officials and discuss bilateral security concerns with the country.
“There is a growing security concern that is why we have to also coordinate with each other… Even without the China issue, there is already a regular exchange of visits by the chiefs of staff ,” Detoyato said when asked about frequent visits of US military officials.
It is not confirmed if Harris would also join a surveillance flight over South China Sea just like what US Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Swift did during his visit to the Philippines last month. IMAGE by wikipedia.com