Chinese naval escort taskforce ends visit to South Africa

China Military Online
Zhang Tao

The 22nd Chinese naval escort taskforce ended a four-day friendly visit to South Africa on Friday.

The visiting fleet, comprised of supply ship Taihu, guided missile destroyer Qingdao and frigate Daqing, left the South African naval base at Simon's Town near Cape Town on Friday morning after a farewell ceremony, which was attended by Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Tian Xuejun as well as representatives from the South African navy and Chinese community in South Africa.

The visit came after the Chinese naval ships successfully completed the escorting task in the Gulf of Aden from early December last year to the end of April this year.

"Their actions have lived up fully to the trust of the country and the Chinese people. The task not only gave the fleet a comprehensive exercise for operations at far seas, but also created an opportunity for the Chinese navy to demonstrate its capabilities, and most importantly, an opportunity to show the world that China is a responsible and peace-loving country," Tian said.

During the visit, the Chinese and South African navies also held a joint exercise, which further facilitated exchanges and all-directional cooperation between the two navies.

The Open Day event for public visits has also helped deepen mutual understanding and build ties between the Chinese navy and locals, said Tian.

"The visit sent a positive signal that China is committed to international maritime peace, and showed to the world the image of the Chinese Navy as a peaceful, mighty, and civilized force," he said.

Commander of the escort taskforce Rear Admiral Chen Qiangnan said the visit has further promoted the friendship between China and South Africa, making positive contribution to lifting up comprehensive friendly cooperation between the two militaries.

The visit marked the fourth of its kind made to South Africa by Chinese Navy ships.

Authorized by the United Nations, the Chinese navy has started dispatching warships to the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somali coast for escort missions since December 2008.

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