Chinese Naval Squadron on Goodwill Visit to Saudi Arabia and Middle East Countries
A three-ship squadron of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) arrived at the Red Sea port city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on Jan.9 for a five-day goodwill visit.
It is only the second time since November 2010 that a PLAN squadron has dropped anchor at Saudi Arabia.
The PLAN 24th Escort Task Force consists of the CNS Harbin (DDG-112), a Type 052 Luhu-class guided missile destroyer; the Type 054A frigate CNS Handan (FFG-579) and the Qiandaohu-class or Type 903 replenishment ship Dongpinghu (960).
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The Escort Task Force are in Saudi Arabia after completing their mission of escorting merchant ships in the pirate-ridden waters of the Gulf of Aden and the Somali coast.
Over 200 persons, including Chinese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Li Huaxin; Consul General of the Chinese Consulate in Jeddah An Wa'er; staff of China-funded institutions; overseas Chinese and officers of the Royal Saudi Navy were at the pier to welcome the Chinese warships.
The task force will hold a deck reception during its visit to Saudi Arabia. The commanding officers of the task force, including Senior Captain Bai Yaoping and Zhou Pingfei, will call on officers of the Western Fleet of the Royal Saudi Navy.
They are also scheduled to visit the naval tactical center and the maritime fire-fighting simulation center of the Royal Saudi Navy together with representatives of the Chinese sailors. In addition, sailors of the two navies will also visit each other's warships.
Jeddah is home base to the Royal Saudi Navy's Western Fleet that consists of frigates; missile boats; a replenishing ship and a patrol minesweeper. The base is located north of the King Faisal Naval Base air station and south of the container port area
Saudi Arabia is the first leg in the Chinese squadron's itinerary. The warships will also visit Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.