On May 17, the Anzac Class Guided Missile Frigate, HMAS Ballarat, began a five-day ship visit to Shanghai, China. Ballarat will be docked at the northern end of Shanghai’s historic Bund from 17-21 May.
The visit will involve cultural exchanges and visits to significant icons in Shanghai.
The exercise will involve a variety of interactive activities including communications and rescue exercises and joint manoeuvres with the PLA-Navy on departure from Shanghai.
The ship’s commanding officer Commander Jonathan Earley says his crew is ready for the challenge. “We have recently come from a long work up to achieve this mission,” CMDR Earley said, “so we are used to dealing with other nations from our region but this is the first time we have exercised so intensely with the PLA-Navy.”
“This is diplomacy at its best,” CMDR Earley said. “There is nothing more effective than face to face contact to build trust and friendship between Navies and nations.”
HMAS Ballarat’s visit to China comes at a time when we are celebrating 40 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and the People’s Republic of China, in December 1972.
The visit points to the constructive and beneficial links between the militaries of our two countries, and underlines the value both China and Australia place on the broader bilateral relationship.
Australia has conducted a senior-level defence dialogue with China for 14 years.
Australia looks forward to co-chairing the 15th annual Defence Strategic Dialogue later this year in China at the Chief of Defence Force level. At this Dialogue we will discuss proposals to further deepen our practical defence cooperation.
Australia and China have enhanced bilateral defence engagement in recent years to include working level exchanges, and practical cooperation in the areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises, maritime engagement and peacekeeping.
Naval Today Staff , May 18, 2012; Image: RAN