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Chinese navy ships arrive Hawaii for joint drill

By WANG XIAODONG in Honolulu, HAWAII | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2013-09-08 00:40

Three Chinese navy ships arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Friday morning (Honolulu time) for a visit to the US Navy aimed at building trust and improving understanding between the two navies.

The three ships of China's North Sea Fleet including the missile destroyer Qingdao, the frigate Linyi and the supply ship Hongzehu that carry more than 670 will join with the US navy in a one-day search-and-rescue drill on Monday (Honolulu time) off the waters of Hawaii during their four-day visit.

"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 could 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 United States and discussed with his counterpart on 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.

Chinese Navy's visit on Friday is a reciprocal port visit to the visit by Admiral Cecil Haney, commander US Pacific Fleet, to China in May, according to a statement of US Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.

The capstone of the visit will be a one-day exercise for search and rescue on Monday local time, the last day of the ships' four-day visit, the statement said.

All the three Chinese navy ships will participate in the drill, which will include searching and rescue exercises and 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 of the both countries will also take part in various socializing events such as sports and historical tours to increase familiarity, Williams said.

The visit is the first one by the Chinese Navy to 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 Untied States should intensify cooperation. This is what us Chinese overseas expect," Cheng Bolun, a Chinese student studying at University of Hawaii, in Honolulu, said.

Daniel Barker, A first-class petty officer of the US navy stationed in Hawaii, said he expects more visits from Chinese navy.

"More such visits are better for international relations, for enhanced friendship between China and the US," he said.

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