The Philippines has asked South Korea to donate a decommissioned warship to Manila, the defence department said Thursday, to help them patrol their waters and perform counter-terrorism operations.
"We have transmitted a letter of intent to the South Korean government to acquire one Pohang-class corvette which we hope to get within the year,"
ministry spokesman Arsenio Andolong told AFP in a text message.
The vessel will be acquired at a "token fee" of $100, though it will be refurbished at the Philippine government's cost, he added.
"It will definitely enhance our capability to patrol our waters and perform counter-terrorism operations," he told reporters earlier Thursday.
Andolong said Seoul had offered a decommissioned corvette to Manila as early as 2014, but the donation was delayed while the government studied the terms of reference.
South Korea, along with the United States and Japan, are playing major roles in the modernisation of the Philippine armed forces.
Manila also ordered a dozen FA-50 fighter jets from a state-controlled South Korean manufacturer in 2015.
The navy and air force upgrades were originally aimed at improving Philippine military capability to patrol the South China Sea, including waters also claimed by China and other neighbours.
However President Rodrigo Duterte, who was elected last year, has sought to downplay the dispute while chasing billions of dollars in trade and investment from China. (AFP)