08:12 GMT24 February 2020
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    With a crew of 160 Sailors, US Topeka will conduct a multitude of missions and maintain proficiency of the latest capabilities of the submarine fleet in the Philippines, according to the US Navy.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US submarine Topeka arrived at the Subic Bay naval base in the Philippines on Tuesday, in a visit described as part of a routine deployment in the region, the US Navy announced in a press release.

    "With a crew of 160 Sailors, Topeka will conduct a multitude of missions and maintain proficiency of the latest capabilities of the submarine fleet," the release said.

    The Navy identified the mission as a "routine Indo-Asian-Pacific deployment."

    The Topeka’s arrival coincided with a 10-4 decision by the Philippine Supreme Court on Tuesday that will allow the US military to deploy weapons and station troops in the Philippines, according to local reports. That decision effectively reverses the expulsion of the United States more than two decades ago from bases in its former colony.

    Also on Tuesday, Philippine defense and foreign ministers were in Washington, DC for meetings with their US counterparts.

    The officials were expected to discuss rising tensions over China’s construction of military airstrips in the disputed Spratly archipelago, part of which is claimed by the Philippines, according to reports.

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