Two ships from the Peoples Republic of China, the training ship Zhenghe and frigate Mianyang, will be visiting Sydney from Monday 20 September to Friday 24 September and Darwin from Sunday 3 to Thursday 7 October 2010.
Their arrival follows a recent visit to Australia by senior members of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA), during which Australia and China agreed to a range of practical cooperation measures aimed at deepening ‘nation to nation’ defence ties.
According to Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stephen Gilmore AM CSC RAN, who welcomed the Chinese ships and crew to Sydney, Australia is committed to developing strong and positive defence relations with China that help contribute to regional security and stability.
“This visit builds upon previous Navy-to-Navy engagements with the PLA and is a sign of the growing maturity in our Defence relationship with China,” said Rear Admiral Gilmore.
As part of out growing military cooperation, HMAS Warramunga will conduct reciprocal visits to the Chinese ports of Qingdao from 18–22 September and Zhanjiang from 26–30 September. The PLA Navy also extended an invitation for two Australian Midshipmen from the Australian Defence Force Academy to join the training ship Zhenghe on her journey from Auckland to Sydney.
“For me this was a fantastic, once-in-a-life-time opportunity to experience life on board a PLA ship, so I’m very grateful to the Chinese for their invitation,” said Midshipman Angus Sterling.
During their stay in Sydney, the Chinese crew members will be visiting Royal Australian Navy ships and establishments, as well as holding a number of community events including a concert in Darling Harbour by the PLA Band.
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