BANGKOK – The 14th Escort Fleet of the Chinese navy, on its way back to China from a six-month mission in the Gulf of Aden, is anchoring off Thailand’s Sattahip Naval Base for a five-day friendly visit.
The visit by the taskforce, composed of a destroyer, CNS Harbin, a frigate, CNS Mianyang, and a supply ship, CNS Weishanhu, is the third of its kind to Thailand.
The fleet was warmly received on Thursday at the Thai southeastern seaport by Thai navy officers, Chinese Ambassador Ning Fukui, representatives of Chinese companies, students and overseas Chinese communities.
The Chinese navy ships are currently open for members of the Thai public to visit. During the visit, the Chinese navy officers and sailors serving on the ships will pay visits to the headquarters of Thai navy and hold meetings with their Thai counterparts, said Yuan Yubai, commander of the Escort Naval Fleet.
“We will share with the Thai side our experience in escorting mercantile vessels in the Gulf of Aden and they will discuss with us how to curb maritime crimes,” he added.
According to Yuan, the Chinese and Thai navies have maintained close and pragmatic exchanges over the recent years based on principal of mutual trust and mutual assistance. He said this visit is aimed at bringing their exchanges in combating pirates, maritime smuggling and terrorism to a deeper level.
The 14 Naval Escort Fleet left its base in China’s eastern seaport Qingdao this February and arrived in Karachi, Pakistan to join the “Peace-13” multinational maritime joint military exercise. It reached the Gulf of Arden late in March and took over the escort task from the 13th Chinese Navy Escort Fleet.