South Korea has committed to give a naval transport ship to the Philippines, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said today.

The transport ship, a landing craft utility (LCU), will be used by the Philippine Navy when it arrives, Gazmin said in a mobile-phone message.

Aside from the LCU, South Korea will also give 16 rubber boats and computers, he said.

Gazmin said the commitment was discussed when he and South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin had bilateral talks on humanitarian and disaster response in Seoul over the weekend.

An LCU is a ship designed to transport tanks, artillery, and troops, but can also be used for disaster response operations like delivering relief goods and construction materials.

South Korea built six LCUs from 1979 to 1981, and reportedly plans to replace them with newer types of naval transport ships.

Gazmin visited Seoul from Thursday to Saturday.

During his visit, Gazmin also attended an exhibit on civilian and military technological cooperation and thanked the South Korean government for helping rebuild areas devastated by super-typhoon “Yolanda,” according to the DND.

About 500 South Korean troops are presently helping rebuild typhoon-wrecked areas in Leyte.

On May 27, a second contingent of 300 people, including Marine troopers, was activated for a reconstruction support mission to the Philippines, according to a statement from the South Korean Defense Ministry. (John Roson)

– end –