25th Chinese naval escort taskforce visits Vanuatu

The 25th Chinese naval escort taskforce arrived in Port Vila, capital of Vanuatu, for a friendly visit to the Pacific island nation.

The guided-missile frigates Hengyang and Yulin entered the Port Vila Harbor at around 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, while the comprehensive supply ship Honghu of the taskforce docked in the water off Port Vila due to berth restrictions of the harbor.

The Vanuatu side and the Chinese Embassy in Vanuatu held a grand welcoming ceremony for the visiting Chinese naval escort taskforce. Prime Minister Charlot Salwai of Vanuatu and Chinese ambassador to Vanuatu Liu Quan joined people to welcome the visiting Chinese naval ships at the dock.

Salwai spoke at the welcoming ceremony that the year of 2017 marks a significant milestone in the development of Vanuatu-China relations. He thanked China for providing tremendous help for Vanuatu's development and believed the visit by 25th Chinese naval escort taskforce will help deepen the state and military relations between the two countries.

Rear Admiral Zhao Jicheng, deputy commander of the aviation force under the PLA Navy's South China Sea Fleet and commanding officer of the 25th Chinese naval escort taskforce, said that the visit to Vanuatu is aimed to deepen mutual understanding and friendship.

2017 marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Vanuatu. Zhao said. In the past 35 years, the two countries, always upholding the principle of mutual trust and mutual support, have developed their relations into a paragon of the relations between China and Pacific island nations. The visit by his taskforce will be a complete success with the united efforts of both sides, he added.

After the welcoming ceremony, a group of Vanuatu's military and government officials headed by Prime Minister Charlot Salwai boarded the guided-missile frigate Hengyang for a visit.

Rear Admiral Zhao Jicheng also called on that afternoon Vanuatu's Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and Minister of Internal Affairs Alfred Maoh.

The Chinese naval escort taskforce will hold a deck reception and open its warships for public visit. In addition, Sailors of the taskforce will visit local schools in Port Vila during their stay in the city.