DAVAO CITY – Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said the visit here Sunday of three Chinese navy ships will further strengthen relations between the Philippines and China.
Zhao led the ceremony for the arrival of the three vessels of the China People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Task Group 150 at Sasa Port here. The port call was initially set in Manila.
He said the goodwill visit is a manifestation of China’s move “to resume friendship with the Philippines,” noting he is looking forward to stronger ties between the two countries.
The three-day visit is the first for China for 2017 and the first in recent years since their last visit in April 2010. The visit is aimed at expanding communication, promoting cooperation and improving friendship between the Philippine Navy and PLA Navy.
On a three-day visit to Davao City, the Chinese naval ships include the guided missile destroyer Chang Chun (DDG150), guided missile frigate Jin Zhou (FFG532) and type 903 replenishment ship Chao Hu (890). The visit is headed by Rear Admiral Shen Hao, the deputy commander of the East Sea Fleet of the PLA Navy and concurrent commander-in-chief of the PLA Navy Task Group 150.
Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who led local government officials in welcoming the visiting Chinese vessels, officials and staff, said there were three reasons mentioned by the Chinese navy officials why they chose Davao as port of call.
These are for a change since similar visit always happen in the capital city; Davao City is the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte; and that the city is more receptive to see the modern navy ships, the mayor said.
The mayor admitted she was “envious” in seeing the inside of one of the navy ships. She wished that President Duterte can also acquire at least two modern navy ships during his term.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who was invited for a reception, was expected to get on board one of the Chinese navy ships on Monday. Lilian Mellejor/PNA-northboundasia.com