PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Adm. Gary Roughead arrived in China Nov. 11, making his first visit to the country as commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
During the week-long trip, Roughead is scheduled to call on the U.S. ambassador in Beijing and visit with China's civilian and military leaders. He will also visit USS Juneau (LPD 10), which will be participating in a search and rescue exercise with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy and making a port visit to the southern city of Zhanjiang.
"Enhancing our navy-to-navy relationships is especially important so we can cooperate in our many areas of mutual interest," Roughead said. "Through routine dialogue and exercise, our navies can improve the ability to coordinate naval operations in missions such as maritime security, search and rescue, and humanitarian relief."
Roughead's visit to China and the upcoming search and rescue exercise build upon other recent activities, including the visit of PLA navy ships to U.S. ports, military personnel exchanges and a recent gathering of Western Pacific naval leaders in Honolulu.
Earlier this year, two Chinese navy ships -- the destroyer Qingdao (DDG 113) and oiler Hongzehu (AOR 881) -- visited Pearl Harbor and San Diego and completed the first phase of a two-part exercise between the two navies as agreed to in the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement.
The first phase consisted of communications and passing exercises off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, Sept. 10 with USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) and a search and rescue exercise off the coast of Southern California Sept. 20 with USS Shoup (DDG 86). The second phase is to occur off the coast of China during Roughead's visit.
These exercises contribute to improved working relationships and act as a foundation for increasing disaster responsiveness and promoting regional security.
The Pacific Fleet has an established record of working with regional navies. Earlier this month, Roughead hosted the 10th Western Pacfic Naval Symposium in Honolulu, a biennial gathering of naval leaders from the region, including China, that foster discussion on topics such as exercises, regional security, military exchange programs, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
"We are all professional sailors," Roughead said. "The Western Pacific Naval Symposium brings regional naval leaders together to discuss matters of importance and interest that lead to enhanced regional security and prosperity."
For related news, visit the Pacific Fleet Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cpf/.