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Home >> China
UPDATED: 14:40, March 10, 2007
Chinese navy on target in joint drills
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Cheers erupted onboard Lianyungang warship Thursday afternoon as its captain Lai Yijun announced that the crew had successfully hit and sank a distant floating target.

It was their second round of cheers, coming after the ship's sister frigate, Sanming, destroyed its target a few minutes earlier.

Lianyungang and Sanming have spent the last few days participating in the Chinese navy's first-ever multinational naval exercises in the sea near the Karachi port.

The Chinese navy fired its first-ever batch of shells on Thursday, when the drills entered the phase for live-fire exercises and sea operations.

China sent the two-frigate task force at the invitation of Pakistan, which organized the multinational naval exercises.

Joining the exercises are 23 warships from nine countries, including Britain, Bangladesh, China, France, Italy, Malaysia, Turkey and the US, which sent two aircraft carriers.

The naval drills, coded as "Aman 07", are designed to be a display of international unity in the fight against terrorism and human, drug and weapons trafficking. The drills should also facilitate interaction among friendly regional and extra-regional navies. Aman means "peace" in Urdu language.

"For us, the most important part of the exercises is learning how to communicate effectively with foreign ships, because all signals are sent and received in English," said Qiu Yanpeng, commander of the 400-man Chinese fleet.

"Whenever we send or receive a message, we should make sure that we understand and are understood," Qiu said.

Only through such multilateral maneuvers can the Chinese navy improve its communication skills, refine its procedures and better cooperate with other countries' navies, he said.

Lianyungang and Sanming left Ningbo Port of East China's Zhejiang Province on February 19 and travelled more than 7,000 kilometers before arriving at Karachi navy dockyard in southern Pakistan.

"Terrorists respect no border or morality," Qiu said, adding that China is certainly part of the global war on terrorism.

"If we work together, we can more easily stop terrorists and traffickers from using the sea, through which most international trade is carried out," commodore Farrukh Mahpooz of the Pakistani navy told China Daily on Thursday aboard a participating Pakistani destroyer.

In addition to the participating countries, 24 nations have sent observers to this event, which will end on Tuesday.

Admiral Muhammad Afzal Tahir, chief of Pakistan's navy staff, spoke highly of the Chinese navy's participation in the military drills.

"We are so glad to be the host of such event in which warships of our friend China and Western navies can operate together," Tahir told China Daily on Friday.

Source: China Daily/agencies

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