US guided missile submarine visiting Subic Bay

Posted at 03/24/14 10:20 PM

The USS Michigan (SSGN 727), an Ohio-class guided-missile submarine. US Navy photo

MANILA - The USS Michigan (SSGN 727), a Ohio-class guided-missile submarine, will arrive at Subic Bay on Tuesday for a routine port call, the US embassy in Manila said Monday.

The nuclear-powered submarine, which carries cruise missiles, will replenish supplies at the former US naval base, the embassy said.

The port call will also give its crew an opportunity for rest and relaxation, it added.

The USS Michigan, which is under the command of Capt. Erik Burian, is part of the US Pacific Fleet.

It was previously a ballistic missile submarine before it was converted into carrying guided missiles, the embassy said.

The Philippines, Australia, and other parts of the region have seen a resurgence of US warships, planes and personnel since President Barack Obama announced a "pivot" in foreign, economic and security policy towards Asia.

The Philippines has agreed to allow the United States access to its military bases under a new security deal being negotiated by the two allies, amid mounting concern over China's increasing assertiveness in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

The offer was made during a sixth round of talks held in Washington last week, Filipino officials said on Friday. The two sides hope to finalize terms before US President Barack Obama embarks on a visit to Asia, including the Philippines, next month.

"Consensus was arrived at on many provisions of the draft agreement," Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino told a news conference, adding the deal is 80 percent done. "The proposed agreement will allow the sharing of defined areas within certain AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) facilities with elements of the U.S. military."

The new agreement on enhanced defense cooperation will allow the United States increased deployment of troops, ships, aircraft and humanitarian equipment.

Manila would welcome the return of a U.S. military presence to deter China's ambitions in the South China Sea, and to help provide humanitarian assistance during natural disasters, according to analysts. - with a report from Reuters