CHINESE WARSHIP MAKES RARE APPEARANCE IN PNG

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Goodwill call comes days after Fiji renounces western allies

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Aug. 18, 2010) - China yesterday made history when one of its two warships docked at the Port Moresby main wharf in Papua New Guinea (PNG) at 10am.

Its 568 officers including naval officer cadets were also the first to step on shore since diplomatic relations were established between the two countries in 1974.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) naval training ship, Zhenghe, which was the first to sail in and dock, was met with traditional performances by two dancing troupes from Manus and Northern provinces.

On hand to meet the commanding officers were PNG Defence Force Chief of Staff Colonel Tom Ur, Chinese Ambassador to PNG, Qiu Bahua, and National Capital District (NCD) Commission deputy city manager Honk Kiap, plus other high ranking officials.

The Chinese naval command is led by Rear Admiral Leng Zhenqing.

Col Ur said the visit increased the already growing relations between the two countries under the drop back of a long bond between China and PNG.

Rear Admiral Leng said the visit was a show of appreciation for the growing bilateral relations between the two countries.

[PIR editor’s note: According to a blog by Keith Jackson, an Adjunct Professor of Journalism and Communication at the University of Queensland who heads a Sydney-based public relations firm, "two Chinese warships visited Papua New Guinea on a goodwill visit on what the media explained as "a three-day intensive exchange program between technical naval staff of the two countries. The visit by the warships came soon after comments by Fijian leader Frank Bainimarama who publicly announced he would be seeking closer ties with China and dispensing with his country's traditional links with Australia and New Zealand." There are plans that the warship will also visit Vanuatu, Tonga, New Zealand, and Australia.]

Mr. Kiap welcomed the ships on behalf of the NCD Governor, Powes Parkop, saying the city was privileged to have them.

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