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UPDATED: 19:14, November 15, 2006
U.S. warship arrives for joint search-and-rescue exercise
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The USS Juneau (LPD 10) arrived on Wednesday at Zhanjiang, a port city of South China's Guangdong Province, to get ready for a joint search-and-rescue exercise with the Chinese navy.

This is the third time the U.S. warship has visited Zhanjiang since this south China port opened to foreign warships in 2003.

The USS Juneau, the U.S. navy's only forward-deployed amphibious transport dock, is captained by Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Gary Roughead. Roughead will oversee the joint search-and-rescue operation between the two navies.

There are about 650 crew members on the USS Juneau. They were warmly greeted by more than 400 Chinese navy officers and sailors.

Later Wednesday, Roughead will meet with Gu Wengen, commander of the South China Sea fleet of the Navy of the People's Liberation Army.

The exercise will be held in the South China Sea on Sunday, according to the Chinese Defense Ministry. The exercise will involve China's guided missile destroyer "Zhanjiang", fuel tanker "Dongting Lake," the USS Juneau (LPD 10) and the USS missile destroyer Fitzgerald.

"These exercises will help improve understanding and build mutual trust between the two militaries, particularly the two navies," said a statement issued by the Chinese Defense Ministry.

The event is the second phase of the first-ever joint Sino-American search-and-rescue exercises, agreed on by Chinese and U.S. military leaders.

The first phase in September consisted of communications and passing exercises held in the waters off Hawaii.

Source: Xinhua

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