PLA navy ship arrives in Pearl Harbor

Updated: 2015-10-13 09:59

By Linda Deng in Honolulu(China Daily USA)

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 PLA navy ship arrives in Pearl Harbor

The People's Liberation Army Navy's training ship Zheng He arrives at Pier 26 in Pearl Harbor on Monday for a four-day port call.

The training ship, with 171 cadets (18 of whom are female) from three naval academies in China (the Dalian Naval Academy, the Naval University of Engineering and the Naval Aeronautical Engineering Institute) on board, started its far seas intern mission from the port city of Dalian in northeast China on Sept 23, and had conducted paid port calls to Vladivostok in Russia. After Pearl Harbor the ship will head to Chinhae port in South Korea.

"We want our students to broaden their horizons through their experience and to enhance their professionalism through the exchange programs with their counterparts from the US," said Yan Zhenming, commander of the Zheng He's commission journey this time around.

"Now our ship makes ocean-going navigation annually and globally. We have set up routine training programs for cadets, who expect to be the captains of the PLA Navy's next generation," Ye told China Daily.

Commanding officers of the Zheng He are scheduled to visit the headquarters of the US Navy's Pacific Fleet and the USS Chosin, a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser named in honor of the Battle of Chosin, and attend a deck reception on board.

"We will do some search and rescue planning, a damage control exercise, and go through and share our voyage lessons and show our equipment," said Kevin Brand, commanding officer of USS Chosin.

"We look forward to hosting the Chinese navy on Thursday on the USS Chosin with a social event."

Sailors from both sides will also participate in sports activities such as rowing, football and basketball before their departure on Oct 16.

Zheng He is China's first naval training vessel. Since 1987, it has completed a global voyage, paying visits to 28 countries and regions. The ship's 1989 visit to Pearl Harbor was the PLA's first-ever port visit to a US port since 1949. During that visit, the Zheng He sailors visited with their American counterparts and traded souvenirs, played basketball and enjoyed local Hawaiian entertainment.

President Xi Jinping said when he met with US President Barack Obama in Washington on Sept 25 that military-to-military ties are a vital component of China-US relations and the two sides should maintain the momentum for high-level military exchanges.

Xi called on the two militaries to make better use of institutional dialogue and conduct more joint drills and training exercises, saying China, at the invitation of the US, will attend the 2016 Rim of the Pacific multilateral naval drills and dispatch personnel to Seattle to participate in humanitarian aid and disaster relief training.

Upon arrival, the Zheng He held a deck reception for US navy officers, Chinese consular officials and representatives of Chinese nationals and the local Chinese community.

"I am happy and proud to be one of the people to welcome Zheng He, I hope they enjoy Hawaii," said 91-year-old retired Honolulu dentist Joseph Young, who took a bus to the pier to welcome the ship and take a tour of it.


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