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3 Chinese warships dock in Davao

The Chinese replenishment ship at SasaWharf in Davao City —PHOTO BY PHILIPPINE NAVY

The Chinese replenishment ship at SasaWharf in Davao City —PHOTO BY PHILIPPINE NAVY

DAVAO CITY—Three Chinese warships docked here on Sunday, in a sign of improving relations between China and the Philippines.

The “goodwill visit” of the Chinese Navy vessels comes a week after the Russian Navy sent a missile cruiser, the Varyag, to Davao for a port call in President Duterte’s hometown.

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First since 2010

Mr. Duterte will tour the three Chinese vessels—the Chang Chun, a guided-missile destroyer; Jin Zhou, a guided-missile frigate, and Chao Hu, a replenishment ship—on Monday.

The last time Chinese Navy ships made a goodwill visit to the Philippines was in 2010.

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The visiting ships are part of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Task Group 150. They will stay here until Tuesday.

Improve friendship

Their visit aims to expand communication, promote cooperation and improve the friendship between China and the Philippines.

BRP Nicolas Mahusay met the Chinese vessels for the customary meeting point procedure in Davao Gulf, then escorted them to Sasa Wharf in Davao City.

In an advisory on Sunday, Lt. Jetmark Marcos, acting public affairs chief of the Naval Forces for Eastern Mindanao, said the visiting flotilla was led by Rear Adm. Shen Hao, deputy commander of the East Asia Fleet of the
PLA Navy.

Shen is also the commander in chief of PLA Navy Task Group 150, Marcos said.

Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he was assuming that the flotilla’s visit was a gesture on the part of the Chinese government “to underscore warming relations” between Beijing and Manila.

Repairing relations

Relations between the Philippines and China had been soured by Manila’s challenge to Beijing’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea in the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

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The tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines, but Mr. Duterte, who was elected last year, deferred assertion of the ruling and visited China to begin repairing relations between the two countries.

He also made friendly overtures to Russia.

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TAGS: China, Chinese Navy, Davao, Global Nation, Philippine news updates, Philippine-China relations, President Duterte
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