By Jiang Shan
OWENDO, Oct. 9 (ChinaMil) -- Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba boarded the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's hospital ship Peace Ark that was paying a friendly visit to Gabon and spoke highly of the free medical services provided by the Peace Ark for the Gabonese people on October 7, 2017.
The president also said that the first visit paid by the Chinese hospital ship to Gabon is a concrete step to implement the consensus reached by the heads of China and Gabon on elevating the bilateral relationship to comprehensive partnership and bears witness to the deep friendship between the people of the two countries.
Chinese Ambassador to Gabon Hu Changchun, Commander Rear Admiral Guan Bailin and Political Commissar Senior Captain Jin Yi of the Chinese navy fleet accompanied Gabonese President Bongo to visit the Peace Ark hospital ship at the Port Owendo of Libreville on the morning of October 7.
"I'm very glad to board the hospital ship today, and what pleases me most is the satisfaction I see on the faces of Gabonese patients. It proves the fruitful work of the medical personnel onboard the ship," said President Bongo.
When speaking of the relationship between China and Gabon, Bongo said that he had a successful visit to China last year and hopes to further enhance the 40-plus-year-long friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
"China and Gabon are good friends. The traditional friendship between the two countries is profound. The visit by Peace Ark will tighten our friendly relation and mark a new starting point in their deep traditional friendship," he added.
Bongo spoke highly of the advanced equipment and medical technologies of the hospital ship, saying that "the hospital ship Peace Ark has the same departments as a regular hospital and the professional medical team is very impressive. I hope the Chinese and Gabonese militaries will continue to hold exchanges and cooperation in medical service area."
Rear Admiral Guan Bailin said the first visit to Gabon by Peace Ark was an important practice of great significance in the military medical exchange and cooperation between the two militaries after the "Peaceful Angel" joint humanitarian medical aid exercise in 2009.
During the visit, staff members onboard the Peace Ark held a series of activities with the Gabonese military and local medical staffs, including joint medical treatment, academic discussion, repair of medical equipment and other cultural activities, which further deepened their medical exchange and cooperation and consolidated their traditional friendship.
The mission commander Rear Admiral Guan Bailin and others also visited President Bongo at the presidential residence on October 5. The Gabonese defense ministry held a grand ceremony of investiture on October 6, at which it conferred honorary medals to 11 Chinese officers and soldiers, including Guan, who had made outstanding contributions to the China-Gabon exchanges and cooperation.
The Peace Ark arrived in Gabon on October 1. By 17:00, local time, October 7 (24:00, October 8, Beijing time), it had provided medical services to 6,092 patients in Gabon, conducted CT, DR, B-mode ultrasound and ECG for 3,554 patients, accepted 18 hospitalized patients and performed 43 operations. (By Jiang Shan)