Chinese naval ships on friendly visit to Philippines

People from the Filipino and Chinese community welcome Chinese Navy vessels as they dock at a port in Manila, Philippines on Jan 17, 2019.
People from the Filipino and Chinese community welcome Chinese Navy vessels as they dock at a port in Manila, Philippines on Jan 17, 2019. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Filipinos and members of the Chinese community in the Philippines yesterday welcomed a three-vessel Chinese naval escort as it docked in Manila for a five-day friendly visit.

The visiting ships - missile frigates Wuhu and Handan, and supply ship Dongpinghu - were making their last port call after completing their escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia.

This is the second visit by Chinese navy ships to the Philippines since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016. The first visit was in April 2017 in Davao City, the home city of Mr Duterte, in the southern Philippines.

"I believe the visit will enhance military to military exchanges and mutual trust, deepen friendship and strengthen cooperation between our two navies," Rear-Admiral Xu Haihua, commander of the 30th Escort Task Group of the Chinese Navy, said.

Commodore Wilfredo Burgunio, deputy commander of the Philippine Fleet, told Xinhua that he believes the visit will promote relations between the two navies. "We welcome this (visit). And we hope to have more engagements like this," he said.

The Chinese Navy will engage in various activities during the visit, including courtesy calls on the Philippines' senior navy officers, a shipboard reception and friendly games with their Philippine Navy counterparts.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2019, with the headline 'Chinese naval ships on friendly visit to Philippines'. Print Edition | Subscribe