SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Peoples Liberation Army (Navy) ships Qingdao (DDG 113) and Hongzehu (AOR 881) arrived at Naval Base San Diego Sept. 18 for a three-day port visit.
The Chinese port visit provides an excellent opportunity to enhance cooperation between the Chinese and U.S. navies, foster mutual understanding, and further develop lines of communication.
"With this visit, China and the United States have an important opportunity to develop and build through our sailors' relationships for cooperation in maintaining a peaceful and stable region," said Commander, Navy Region Southwest Rear Adm. Len Hering, who officially welcomed the Chinese sailors to San Diego. "This is a longstanding role that navies play, and we are very proud to be a part of this process."
For the Chinese navy, a similar tone was presented by the banners displayed on the side of Qingdao with the words "Deepen Mutual Benefit Cooperation. Advance Development Together," written in both Chinese and English.
"We are proud to welcome our fellow sailors from China," said Capt. Dickson Smith, Naval Base San Diego commanding officer. "We truly hope that during their three-day visit, they can experience the warm and friendly atmosphere of the city of San Diego."
Among the Chinese-American groups to greet the ships were representatives from the American Chinese Culture Association, the San Diego Chinese Association and the Golden Dragon Chinese Kung-fu Club.
"We are so excited to have them here," said Aoni Ma, a member of the Golden Dragon Chinese Kung-fu Club. "It is like our family has sailed many miles to see us, and we are overjoyed to be here on the pier to greet them."
Navy Band Southwest, the Chinese navy band and Chinese lion dancers provided entertainment while the ships were being moored.
"We are two different countries and we have different customs, but it is great we could come together like this not only as Sailors, but as people," said Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Anthony Seaman. "I hope that everyone comes away with a deeper appreciation for each other."
Other events planned for the visit include ship tours, a Morale, Welfare and Recreation tour and sporting events. Following the port visit, the ships will conduct part one of a bilateral Search and Rescue exercise (SAREX). The SAREX is a routine exercise that pratices procedures for locating and saving distressed vessels and personnel.
"My Sailors and I are happy to be here," said Chinese Navy Rear Adm. Wang Fushan, deputy, Commander, North Sea Fleet. "We have seen your professionalism and it gives us great pleasure to be in San Diego. We were honored to receive this invitation from the United States."
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