PERU, Lima (NNS) -- At the invitation of several South American heads of navies Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert is engaging with the Chilean, Peruvian and Colombian Navies this week, Jan 11-17, in each of their respective countries.
Starting the week in Santiago, Chile, Greenert spoke at the prestigious Chilean Foreign Ministry Diplomatic Academy to members that were interested in the Asia Pacific Rebalance. Greenert highlighted that improving understanding requires engagement and that the Chilean Navy is playing a leadership role in Pacific exercises and international conferences.
Echoing and agreeing with the words of the Chilean president during his remarks at the diplomat academy Greenert said, "Chile is a bridge between the Pacific and South America. Clearly it's an important aspect to make Asia go. We're all interconnected in that regard."
Greenert talked about how economies and the flow of goods around the world are interconnected. He said that engagements both multilaterally and bilaterally are important, and they have to be continuously nurtured as issues evolve. He emphasized that no Navy can just wait and hope things get better.
Following the remarks Greenert went to visit with Chilean Minister of Defense Jorge Burgos, where they discussed maritime issues and future opportunities where the U.S. and Chilean navies can work together. Then, it was off to Valparaiso, where Greenert met up with his Chilean counterpart Adm. Enrique Larrañaga for an official welcoming ceremony. The ceremony was followed with maritime discussions and visits to units in the Chilean Fleet.
Fleet visits in Chile included a surface operations discussion aboard the Chilean navy frigate CNS Blanco Encalada (FF 15), meeting with Marines at Fort Aguayo, a visit to Chilean Naval Air Station Concon with naval aviators and met with the Chilean Coast Guard for discussions about Chile's earthquake and tsunami warning system.
"My time here has enabled me to learn more about the capabilities of our Chilean maritime partners," said Greenert. "I look forward to continuing our strong relationship in South America and in the Pacific."
The visit in Chile concluded Jan. 13 and Greenert was quickly off to Lima, Peru, to kick off an official visit with the Peruvian navy.
Starting in Lima, Greenert met with Minister of Defense Peter Cateriano Bellido, his counterpart Commander General of the Peruvian Navy Adm. Edmundo Deville del Campo and other high level military officials to discuss bilateral maritime interests Jan. 14.
Greenert also visited the Naval Academy of Peru while in Lima and he is scheduled to continue the visit in Lima and Iquitos, Peru, through Jan. 15. Among Peruvian Fleet units Greenert will visit, he is scheduled to visit U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit Six (NAMRU-6) located in Peru. NAMRU-6 is a biomedical research laboratory and conducts research on and surveillance of a wide range of infectious diseases that are of military or public health significance in the region.
Greenert will conclude the South America engagement by visiting the Colombian navy later this week. Following Colombia, Greenert will return to the Pentagon in Washington, DC.