PLA Navy ves­sels be­gin four-day stop in San Diego

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By HEZI JIANG in San Diego, Cal­i­for­nia hez­i­jiang@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Three Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Navy ves­sels ar­rived in San Diego on Tues­day morn­ing for a four-day visit to the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia city.

Sun peeked through the clouds as PLA Navy Rear Ad­mi­rals Huang Xin­jian and Wu Hai­hua walked off their ves­sel at the downtown B Street Pier. They were wel­comed by US Rear Ad­mi­ral James Bynum, Car­rier Strike Group 9 com­man­der, and Rear Ad­mi­ral Yancy Lind­sey, Navy Re­gion South­west com­man­der.

Some 600 Chi­nese sailors, most of whom were set­ting foot on United States soil for the first time, are spend­ing the next three days with their coun­ter­parts from the USS Cape St Ge­orge. They were to tour each other’s ships, min­gle at two re­cep­tions and com­pete in bas­ket­ball, soc­cer and ping­pong.

On the last day, the two navies will hold joint ex­er­cises at sea cover­ing fleet com­mu­ni­ca­tion, search and res­cue and other ar­eas.

“We hope you en­joy your visit to this beau­ti­ful city and each of you makes fond mem­o­ries and be­gins new friend­ships dur­ing your stay,” Bynum said in a wel­come speech.

“I be­lieve this visit will en­hance the un­der­stand­ing and mu­tual trust be­tween the front-line forces of our two navies,” Huang said in his speech. “It will also lay a solid foun­da­tion for main­tain­ing the peace and sta­bil­ity of the re­gion and the world as a whole.”

The PLA Navy Task Group 546, com­posed of the guided mis­sile frigates Yancheng and Daqing and sup­ply ship Taihu, set sail from Qing­dao on Oct 18.

The group at­tended the ASEAN De­fense Min­is­ters’ Meet­ing Plus Mar­itime Se­cu­rity Ex­er­cise in New Zealand, where it also par­tic­i­pated in the cel­e­bra­tion of the 75 th an­niver­sary of the found­ing of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

The ships, which then set sail for San Diego, will visit the Port of Vic­to­ria in Canada be­fore head­ing back home.

The Yancheng and Daqing were to be open for vis­its by the US pub­lic on Wed­nes­day.

Port calls have be­come an im­por­tant part of the bi­lat­eral mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary ex­change. This is the third time PLA ships have vis­ited San Diego since 2014.

Lieu­tenant Julie Hol­land, Third Fleet pub­lic af­fairs of­fi­cer, said vis­its be­tween the navies of the two coun­tries have be­come “more rou­tine”.

In Au­gust, the San Diegob­ased guided-mis­sile de­stroyer USS Ben­fold made a five­day visit to Qing­dao, where its 285 sailors played sports with their coun­ter­parts from China’s North Sea Fleet and toured the Ts­ing­tao Beer Mu­seum.

BILL WECHTER / AGENCE FRANCE-FRESSE

US Rear Ad­mi­ral Yancy Lind­sey, Tues­day, dur­ing the PLA Navy’s four-day visit to Cal­i­for­nia.

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