June 4, 2019 – The 31st Chinese naval escort taskforce, composed of the amphibious dock landing ship Kunlunshan (Hull 998), the guided-missile frigate Xuchang (Hull 536) and the comprehensive supply ship Luomahu (Hull 964), arrived in Sydney, Australia, on the morning of June 3, local time, for a five-day friendly visit to Australia.
At about 10 a.m., local time, three naval vessels from the PLA Navy fleet with China-Australia national flags hanging on top of the main masts sailed into the Garden Island naval base in Sydney under the guidance of an Australian Navy helicopter. The Chinese Embassy in Australia and the Australian Navy jointly held a grand welcoming ceremony at the dock.
Representatives of Australian sailors, the staff of Chinese embassy and consulate led by Cheng Jingye, Chinese Ambassador to Australia, as well as representatives of overseas Chinese and Chinese institutions greeted the Chinese naval vessels at the dock.
During the visit, Senior Captain Shao Shuguang and Senior Captain Zhang Jiajian, commanders of the Chinese naval escort fleet, will meet with major military and political officials of Australia and introduce the Chinese Navy’s escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somali.
In addition, the Chinese Navy fleet has scheduled to hold a deck reception and launch friendly matches of basketball and football with their Australian counterparts, with a view to deepening the China-Australia friendship and cultural exchanges.
It is learnt that Australia is the first stop for the 31st Chinese naval escort taskforce’s visits. The Chinese Navy fleet has just finished a four-month escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somali, and arrived in Australia after more than a month of maritime navigation training.
The Chinese fleet commander said that the home port of the three vessels is located at Zhanjiang City in China’s Guangdong Province, which is a friendly province of New South Wales. The Chinese Navy fleet’s visit to Australia is bound to inject new impetus into the relational development between the two militaries.