Chinese fleet arrives in Hawaii for naval drill

Honolulu (Hawaii), June 30 (IANS) A Chinese fleet with about 1,200 soldiers and officers arrived in Hawaii’s Pearl Harbour to take part in the Rim of the Pacific 2016 (RIMPAC 2016) multinational naval exercise.

It is the second time the Chinese Navy has taken part in RIMPAC, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

The fleet, PLAN TG-XI’AN, is composed of missile destroyer Xi’an, missile frigate Hengshui, supply ship Gaoyouhu, hospital ship Peace Ark, submarine rescue vessel Changdao and three helicopters, as well as a marine squad and a diving squad.

The fleet arrived on Wednesday.

As previously agreed by China and the US, the Chinese Navy will take part in drills including gunfire, damage control and rescue, anti-piracy, search and rescue, diving and submarine rescue.

Sports events and exchanges will also be held.

The fleet left on June 15 from a military port in Zhoushan city in Zhejiang province. At the send-off at Zhoushan, Deputy Navy Commander Wang Hai said the mission was important for the “new type of major-country relationship” between China and the US, in addition to promoting military-to-military cooperation and exchanges.

RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series. A total of 26 nations, 45 ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate.

The US-led RIMPAC, which started in 1971, is the world’s largest multinational maritime military exercise.

China participated in the drill for the first time in 2014 with four military ships and about 1,100 soldiers on board.

–IANS

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