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Chinese navy fleet visits Namibia

IANS  |  Walvis Bay (Namibia) 

A Chinese navy fleet consisting of two missile frigates and a supply ship docked at Namibia's Port of Walvis Bay Wednesday, marking the beginning of China's first-ever navy visit to the Southwestern African country.

The warships were welcomed by a cheering crowd of about 600 people at the port. Among them Chinese Ambassador Xin Shunkang, high-ranking Namibian navy officers, the Mayor of Walvis Bay and Chinese nationals working in Namibia, some of whom had driven 400 km from the capital Windhoek to witness the historic occasion, Xinhua reported.

In his welcoming remarks, Ambassador Xin pointed out that it was the first visit of Chinese navy vessels to Namibia since the two countries established diplomatic ties 24 years ago, hence it would be significant to further enhance mutual understanding and cooperation.

The fleet is on its eight-country African tour after completing escort missions as the 16th Escort Task Force in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia. The missions had seen them escorting over 5,500 ships from various nations in dangerous waters infested with pirates from November 2013 to the end of April this year.

They will set sail for South Africa, the last stop of the tour, Friday.

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First Published: Thu, June 12 2014. 07:52 IST