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Chinese Navy training vessel "Zhenghe" pays goodwill visit to Italy

(Xinhua)

08:25, June 04, 2012

The Chinese Navy training vessel "Zhenghe" arrives at Taranto, Italy, May 31, 2012. "Zhenghe" arrived at Italy's Taranto Thursday, starting a five-day trip to the country to promote friendship. The "Zhenghe," started its five-month journey from the port city of Dalian in northeast China in mid-April, is scheduled to pay port calls to 11 countries, covering more than 30,000 nautical miles. (Xinhua/Wang Yunjia)

TARANTO, Italy, May 31 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Navy training vessel "Zhenghe" arrived in the southern Italian port city of Taranto Thursday, starting a five-day goodwill visit to the country.

Decorated both with the Italian and Chinese national flags, the People's Liberation Army (PLA)'s ocean-going training ship slowly entered Taranto, one of Italy's most important military ports, at around 10:30 a.m. local time (0830 GMT).

The vessel, named after a famed Chinese maritime explorer who sailed overseas about 600 years ago, was warmly received by the charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Italy Chen Guoyou, representatives of overseas Chinese and representatives from the Italian military.

The ship commander, Liao Shining, who is also deputy chief of staff of the PLA navy, said the main purpose of the visit is to promote the ideal of "a harmonious world and a harmonious ocean," as well as to strengthen the friendship and cooperation between the two countries and the two navies.

Italy is the fifth stop of the vessel's five-month global voyage, which started from China's northeastern port city of Dalian in mid-April.

During their stay in Italy, the Chinese sailors aboard the ship will meet with provincial and municipal officials as well as those from the Taranto Naval Command.

The Chinese officers and cadets will also participate in sports games with local navy officials, and visit Italian Navy vessels and training facilities.

The "Zhenghe," carrying a total of 308 sailors, including 110 students from the Dalian Naval Academy, will also hold a joint navigation and passage exercise with the DDG "Doria" of the Italian Navy.

The ship, with a scheduled route of more than 30,000 nautical miles, is expected to pay port calls to 11 countries and working visits to three countries during its global voyage.


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