WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark Ferguson returned Nov. 15 from an official visit to the People's Republic of China.
During the four-day visit, Adm. Ferguson held discussions with senior leaders of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLA(N)) and visited several PLA(N) ships, including the 7,500-ton, newly commissioned guided-missile destroyer Changchun (DDG 150); a Song-class diesel-electric attack submarine; and the Jiangdao-class missile corvette Shangrao (PF 583).
Adm. Ferguson also met with PLA(N) Commander Adm. Wu Shengli and Deputy Commander Vice Adm. Xu Hongmeng, and visited with Sailors of the East Sea Fleet, headquartered in Zoushan.
"The purpose of my trip was to foster a better understanding between the PLA(N) and the U.S. Navy," Adm. Ferguson said. "During meetings with Adm. Wu and Vice Adm. Xu, I had a chance to explain our enduring interests in the Asia-Pacific region and gain a better understanding of the PLA (Navy)."
The visit was in reciprocation for the visit by Vice Adm. Zhang to the U.S. in December 2012 and follows Adm. Wu's visit to the U.S. in September. During that visit, Adm. Wu was hosted by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert during visits to USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and USS Jefferson City (SSN 759) in port before embarking USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) at sea.
Reciprocal visits allow senior U.S. Navy and PLA(N) leaders to plan for future interactions and discuss operations in a region of vital importance to the world economy.
"After hours of discussions, briefings and tours, I came away with a better understanding of the PLA(N) as an institution," Adm. Ferguson said. "I was also impressed with the PLA(N)'s stated commitment to improved navy-to-navy engagement."
The visit offered an opportunity for U.S. Navy and the PLA(N) to increase communication and interaction, and look for opportunities to work together in future exercises, such as RIMPAC 2014.