Three Chinese Naval ships will arrive in Portsmouth next week for a formal visit aimed at enhancing military understanding between the UK and China.
Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming and hundreds of UK-based Chinese residents will welcome the ships into the city’s Naval Base on Monday (January 12).
Heading the task group is the assault ship Chang Bai Shan, accompanied by the frigate Yun Cheng and the replenishment ship Chaohu. Chang Bai Shan will fire a 21-gun salute as she approaches the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour and a response will be fired from Fort Blockhouse, Gosport.
The ships’ last port of call was Salalah in Oman and on leaving Portsmouth they will head for Kiel in Germany.
During the five-day visit, senior officers from both Navies will discuss various maritime topics including recent counter-piracy operations across the Indian Ocean.
Ambassador Liu Xiaoming said: “The Chinese Naval ships will be visiting the UK after they have finished a counter-piracy escort mission in the waters of the Gulf of Aden. This will be the third visit to the UK by Chinese Naval ships, and the largest one.
“It is a significant event in China-UK relations and exchange between the two militaries at the beginning of 2015. It will be a visit of peace, friendship and cooperation. It will further deepen the exchanges and cooperation between the two militaries, and push forward the comprehensive development of the China-UK relations.”
Commodore Jeremy Rigby, Naval Base Commander, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming our Chinese visitors to the operational home of the Royal Navy. As with our ship visits abroad, these events are not only of great diplomatic significance, but also very useful militarily given that we share similar global challenges including counter-piracy, preventing conflict, protecting our citizens overseas and supporting UN peacekeeping efforts.”
Crew members from all three vessels will be given tours of local attractions including HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose and they’ll also be shown around the Royal Navy’s newest warship – Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan.
The two nations will also compete in badminton and basketball matches at HMS Temeraire in Portsmouth – the Navy’s home of physical training.
The ships leave Portsmouth on January 16.