PLA naval fleet ar­rives for CamRanh port visit

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHAO LEI zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China and Viet­nam should ex­pand mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion to a higher level and into more fields, an­a­lysts said af­ter a PLA naval fleet be­gan a five-day visit to a Viet­namese port.

Yin Zhuo, direc­tor of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Navy’s Ex­pert Con­sul­ta­tion Com­mit­tee, said there should be more meet­ings be­tween high-rank­ing of­fi­cers, as deeper un­der­stand­ing would boost po­lit­i­cal and diplo­matic ties.

He said both coun­tries could also send stu­dents to take part in ex­changes to com­mu­ni­cate the­o­ries and strate­gies.

“The two mil­i­taries are sup­port­ive of joint pa­trols in Beibu Bay by the China Coast Guard and Viet­nam’s bor­der de­fense force,” Yin said. “The two sides can open col­lab­o­ra­tion on anti-ter­ror­ism, crack­downs on cross-bor­der crime and bor­der se­cu­rity.

“A higher level of bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion can also help strengthen mil­i­tary col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween China and other South­east Asian na­tions.”

Li Jie at the PLA Naval Mil­i­tary Stud­ies Re­search In­sti­tute said there are many ar­eas in which the Chi­nese and Viet­namese navies can co­op­er­ate, such as com­bat­ing piracy and in disas­ter re­lief. “Whether the two navies can en­hance their co­op­er­a­tion de­pends on po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sions and the level of mu­tual trust,” he said.

The Chi­nese fleet ar­rived at Cam Ranh In­ter­na­tional Port in Khanh Hoa province on Satur­day.

The 23rd PLA naval es­cort task force, which com­pleted a mis­sion in the Gulf of Aden in Septem­ber, com­prises two Type-054A frigates — CNS Xiang­tan and CNS Zhoushan — and the Type-903A sup­ply ship CNS Chaohu.

Viet­nam is the last stop on the fleet’s jour­ney home and comes af­ter vis­its to Myan­mar, Malaysia and Cam­bo­dia, Se­nior Cap­tain Wang Hongli, the task force com­man­der, told reporters at Cam Ranh.

“This visit will en­hance mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and pro­mote friend­ship, thus con­tribut­ing to bi­lat­eral re­la­tions at gov­ern­ment and mil­i­tary lev­els,” he said.

Chi­nese fleets have vis­ited Viet­nam sev­eral times since 2001. In Jan­uary 2013, the 12th PLA naval es­cort task force docked at Ho Chi Minh City. How­ever, this is the first time Chi­nese navy ves­sels have vis­ited Cam Ranh Bay since it was opened as an in­ter­na­tional port in March.

Ac­cord­ing to Viet­nam News Agency, the port serves mil­i­tary and civil­ian ships. Since open­ing, it has hosted mil­i­tary ves­sels from Rus­sia, Ja­pan and In­dia. About three weeks ago, two United States Navy ships paid a visit, be­com­ing the first US ves­sels to en­ter Cam Ranh Bay since the end of the Viet­nam War.

CHEN JUN / CHINA NEWS AGENCY

Chi­nese Viet­namese wave flags at Cam Ranh In­ter­na­tional Port to wel­come the Chi­nese naval fleet, which started a five-day visit on Satur­day.

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