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Chinese navy starts visit to Morocco


08:18, April 11, 2013

CASABLANCA, Morocco, April 9 (Xinhua) -- The 13th Escort Taskforce of the Chinese navy on Tuesday arrived in Casablanca, the largest city of Morocco, beginning a five-day visit to the country.

The visit by the escort taskforce, composed of two frigates and one supply ship, is the first of its kind made to the nation by a Chinese naval fleet, said Li Xiaoyan, commander of the escort taskforce.

During the visit, Li will meet Morocco's navy officers and government officials and introduce the Chinese navy's anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia for more than four years.

Further, cultural and sports activities, including a deck reception and a basketball match, are planned between the Chinese navy and the Moroccan military.

The 13th Escort Taskforce had been conducting China's convoy tasks for a four-month period in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia before it departed from the region on March 18 for nation- visiting tasks.

Currently, the 14th Escort Taskforce is undertaking the convoy tasks in the region.

Morocco is the third leg of the escort taskforce's nation- visiting agenda. After concluding its visit to Morocco, the taskforce will head for Portugal and France.

The taskforce has previously visited Malta and Algeria.

The visits are aimed at enhancing the Chinese navy's exchanges and cooperation with more foreign nations.

Chinese warships have undertaken anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia since December 2008. To date, the Chinese navy has succeeded in escorting more than 5,000 merchant ships.

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