By Li Youtao, Pan Xiaoyuan
The 25th Chinese naval escort taskforce comprised of the guided-missile frigates Hengyang (Hull 568) and Yulin (Hull 569) and the comprehensive supply ship Honghu (Hull 963) slowly sailed into the Port of Auckland in New Zealand under the guidance of pilot of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN), on the morning of June 15, local time, to begin a five-day goodwill visit.
The three vessels of the 25th Chinese naval escort taskforce berthed at Prince's Wharf of Port of Auckland at about 10:00 am. Representatives from the Chinese consulate-general in Auckland and New Zealand held a grand welcome ceremony at the wharf.
Consul General Xu Erwen of the Chinese New Zealand Consulate, along with consulate officials, local overseas Chinese and about 300 New Zealand naval officers, welcomed the Chinese taskforce at the wharf. After the welcoming ceremony, they boarded the frigates Hengyang and Yulin for a visit.
On the afternoon of that day, Rear Admiral Zhao Jicheng, commanding officer of the 25th Chinese naval escort taskforce, met with Commandore David Gibbs, deputy chief of the Royal New Zealand Navy.
During the visit, the 25th Chinese naval escort taskforce will hold ships open days and deck receptions, visit the damage control forces and flying squadron of the RNZN and local schools, and carry out cultural and sports activities with New Zealand naval sailors, so as to deepen friendship between the two sides.
It is learned that the 25th Chinese naval escort taskforce just concluded the visit to Australia before this visit.