Chinese Navy vessels to dock in Davao City for goodwill visit
Three Chinese Navy vessels will be in the Philippines for a goodwill visit from Sunday (April 30), to Wednesday (May 3), the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) said in a new advisory issued on Friday (April 28).
The vessels will dock at Sasa Wharf in Davao City, the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The three vessels are Chang Chun (DDG 150), a guided missile destroyer; Kin Zhou (FFG 532), a guided missile frigate; and Chao Hu (890), a replenishment ship.
The flotilla will be headed by Rear Adm. Shen Hao, the deputy commander of the East Sea Fleet of the People Liberation Army (PLA) Navy and the concurrent commander-in-chief of the PLA Navy Task Group 150.
A welcome ceremony and a port briefing will be conducted on the arrival of the vessels.
Director Arsenio Andolong, spokesperson of the Department of National Defense, said visit of the vessels could mean a gesture of China to highlight warming ties with the Philippines..
“The DND is always open to goodwill visits to our country by foreign navies,” Andolong said. “Just like the US, Vietnam, Russia and New Zealand, we welcome China’a initiative to visit our country.”
Asked for comment about the choice of port of visit, as most foreign visiting navies dock in Manila or Subic, Andolong said that China has the option to dock at any port convenient for them.
“I dont’t want to assume anything beyond that,” he said. “Perhaps the crew wants to see what Davao is like.”
It is not clear whether President Rodrigo Duterte will visit the Chinese ships. During the visit of Russian vessels twice this year, the President toured the ships in an attempt to seek closer relations with Moscow.
When Duterte assumed office in 2016, he distanced himself from the United States, the Philippines’ traditional ally, and moved closer to its rivals China and Russia.
Last month, he said he would invite a Chinese naval ship to visit the country. /atm
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