Palau – Three Taiwanese naval ships – called the Fleet of Friendship – will arrive in Palau for a goodwill visit on April 18, Thursday. The visit falls during the same week as Exercise Palau 2019, where around 150 U.S. military personnel are engaged in joint training exercises with local law enforcement.
Around 750 navy officers, soldiers, and cadets from Taiwan’s Naval Academy are on board the three ships. Each year, graduating cadets sail aboard the Fleet of Friendship for shipboard training, where they acquire combat, tactical, and navigational skills.
Five Palauans have joined the academy since 2016, including two who signed up for the training in August.
The Fleet of Friendship consists of Flagship Pan-Shi, Frigate Wu-Chang, and Frigate Tien-Dan. The ships, according to a release, will call at the port of Malakal Thursday morning, April 18.
Palau Vice President Raynold B. Oilouch and Taiwanese Ambassador to Palau Wallace Chow will preside over a welcome ceremony at the port in the afternoon.
In recent years, the friendship fleet has sailed to different locations around the world, including Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa, and the Pacific region. This is the 14th visit of the fleet to Palau.
During Exercise Palau 2019 this week, U.S. military forces will participate in a series of military exercises under Pacific Pathways. These exercises are intended to increase combat readiness.
“This exercise is a direct reflection of our commitment to the security and defense of Palau,” said Amy Hyatt, U.S. Ambassador to Palau, during a press conference held after the infantry unit’s arrival.
The exercise marks the largest U.S. Army presence on Palau in three decades.