United States deployed USS Chung-Hoon destroyer to the western Pacific region amid Spratlys tension

A 9,200 tons -509 feet 6 inches (153.30 m) USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93) is an Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyer serving in the United States Navy. Chung-Hoon was named in honor of Rear Admiral Gordon Pai'ea Chung-Hoon (1910–1979), recipient of the Navy Cross and the Silver Star. Deployed June 1, 2011 to the Western Pacific.

The United States is deploying the Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon to the Western Pacific amid escalating tension between China and its neighbors over the oil-rich Spratly islands of the Philippines. USS Chung-Hoon departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on June 1, 2011 for an independent deployment to the Western Pacific, U.S. Navy said.

The US Navy said the ship’s 280 sailors were expected to work with coalition partners also in the region. The vessel left the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam base in Hawaii Wednesday.

Last year, the Chung-Hoon and the Philippine Coast Guard practiced boarding and searching vessels in the Sulu Sea when the destroyer went to the region.

The ship provided support for US and Philippine counterinsurgency efforts against militants in the southern part of the Philippines. It also participated in exercises with other United States forces off Guam and in drills with the Singapore navy.

The Obama administration was quietly shifting its strategic focus toward more emphasis on Southeast Asia, due to the recognition that the region’s importance is growing in the military, diplomatic, and trade arenas, the Foreign Policy magazine reported in its Web site Friday.

“There has been really extraordinary progress made, particularly in the last couple of years or so with a number of countries in strengthening our military-to-military relationships and our overall relationship with Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Australia certainly, as well as our traditional allies in Thailand, Japan, and Korea,” Foreign Policy quoted outgoing US Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

On Thursday, President Aquino said the Philippines would file a new protest at the United Nations accusing China of territorial incursion.

China’s embassy in Manila earlier denied the Philippine government’s allegations its ships intruded into the Spratly Islands close to the Philippine coast to build new structures and fortify its claim in the potentially oil-rich region.

Mr. Aquino said he was still hoping to visit Beijing later this year


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