PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill visited Chinese naval hospital ship Ark Peace on Saturday evening, highly commending the vessel's humanitarian mission to his country and its role in enhancing bilateral friendship and partnership.
Speaking at a deck reception, the prime minister said Ark Peace's mission to Papua New Guinea, its second to the Oceanian nation in four years, has helped strengthen relations with the Chinese side.
O'Neill said his visit to China last month was important in deepening bilateral ties.
During his visit to the hospital ship, O'Neill inspected the naval guard of honor in the company of Chinese Ambassador to Papua New Guinea Xue Bing and the mission commanders.
He thanked the medical personnel for their excellent services. He also met local inpatients, and viewed surgical procedures through a window at the ship's operating theater, expressing his high regard for the Chinese medical team's skill and dedication.
The naval hospital ship arrived in Papua New Guinea's capital Port Moresby on Wednesday to start its eight-day humanitarian mission, where the mission group is conducting joint medical diagnoses, treatment and exchanges with local staff. Its specialist health inspection, infectious diseases and medical equipment teams have also been dispatched to local hospitals to provide services on site.
By Saturday, the ship had provided nearly 4,000 medical consultations and treatments and carried out 18 surgical procedures.
Papua New Guinea is the first stop of the Ark Peace's current Mission Harmony 2018. Since 2008, the ship has visited 37 countries and provided free medical services to more than 180,000 people.