Chinese navy drops in on Pearl Harbor
Updated: 2013-09-09 10:55
By Wang Xiaodong in Honolulu (China Daily)
Three Chinese naval ships arrived in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Friday morning for a four-day visit with the US Navy aimed at building trust and improving understanding between the two navies.
The three ships, members of China's North Sea Fleet, are the missile destroyer Qingdao, the frigate Linyi and the supply ship Hongzehu. They carry more than 670 staff and will join the US navy in a one-day search-and-rescue (SAR) drill on Monday in the waters off Hawaii.
"Naval visits have been playing an important role in the development of China-US relationships," Admiral Wei Gang, chief of staff of the North Sea Fleet, said at a welcoming ceremony hosted by US Navy Region Hawaii on Friday.
"I hope the visit can play a positive role in deepening mutual understanding, enhancing mutual trust, and developing friendship between the peoples of our two countries and armed forces," he said.
In August, Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan paid a visit to the US and discussed with his counterpart a series of important issues, according to Wei. "This includes establishing a new type of China-US military relationship corresponding to a new-type of US-China relationship," he said.
The Chinese navy's visit on Friday is a reciprocal port visit to a visit by Admiral Cecil Haney, commander US Pacific Fleet, to China in May, according to a statement issued by the US Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.
The capstone of the visit will be the one-day SAR exercise on Monday, the last day of the visit.
All the three Chinese navy ships will participate in the drill, which will include communication drills, according to Rick Williams, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.
"By working with other nations in the Asia-Pacific, we can develop increased understanding to deal with common challenges in this region," he said. "Through greater understanding we can ensure a peaceful and stable future not only for Hawaii and the Pacific, but also for the world."
Marines from both countries will also take part in various social events such as sports and historical tours, Williams said.
The visit is the first by the Chinese navy to the US since 2006, when Qingdao and Hongzehu stopped in Pearl Harbor for communication drills.
"As the two largest economies in the world, China and the US should intensify cooperation. This is what we Chinese overseas expect," Cheng Bolun, a Chinese student studying at University of Hawaii, in Honolulu, said.
Daniel Barker, a petty officer first-class in the US Navy stationed in Hawaii, said he expects more visits from the Chinese navy.
"More such visits are better for international relations, for enhanced friendship between China and the US," he said.
(China Daily USA 09/09/2013 page3)