Chinese naval guided-missile frigates Huanggang (R) and Yangzhou are seen in London, Britain, on Oct. 3, 2017. China's 26th naval escort fleet arrived here Tuesday for a five-day friendly visit to Britain. This is the first time for Chinese naval ships to pay an official visit to the British capital city. (Xinhua/Tim Ireland)
LONDON - China's 26th naval escort fleet arrived here Tuesday for a five-day friendly visit to Britain. This is the first time for Chinese naval ships to pay an official visit to the British capital city.
The fleet, which composed of the guided-missile frigates Huanggang and Yangzhou, and the comprehensive supply ship Gaoyouhu, is calling at the Canary Wharf in west London from Tuesday to Saturday, the third stop of its global voyage after completing its escort mission in August in Gulf of Aden and Somali waters.
Nearly four hundred people, including Chinese Ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming, representatives of British Royal Navy and overseas Chinese attended a grand welcoming ceremony held by the Chinese embassy.
Speaking upon the fleet's arrival, Liu said the visit of Chinese naval fleet is making history for China-UK military-to-military ties as it is the first time ever for Chinese navy ships to call at Britain's capital city, London.
During this visit, the two navies will hold the first humanitarian rescue symposium, according to Liu.
"Our two navies will exchange views on a broad range of issues from anti-piracy to humanitarian rescues. I believe such extensive engagement will help deepen the mutual trust and cooperation between our two militaries," Liu said.
Fleet commander Wang Zhongcai said during the visit there will be a series of events, including an open day, a deck reception and professional meetings between Chinese and British navies, hoping these could offer British people a good opportunity to know the Chinese Navy better.
Before arriving in London, the fleet concluded a five-day friendly visit to Denmark.
China sent its first convoy fleet to Somali waters for an anti-piracy mission in December 2008.