|A Pakistani naval vessel opens to the public as part of activities linked to the 14th annual meeting of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium which kicked off in Qingdao, Shandong province, on April 20. (Peng Yining/chinadaily.com.cn)|
The 14th annual meeting of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium started in Qingdao on Tuesday, and several activities linked to the event have also kicked off. One of the activities concerns seven naval vessels - from countries including China, India and Pakistan – which are now open to the public at Qingdao port.
Shi Lei, commander of the PLA navy destroyer Harbin, said the crew was prepared to give civilians and fellow mariners a memorable tour of the ship.
Shi also said that as the PLA navy has become more powerful, it has also has become more open.
"We welcome people to visit our ship and welcome them to learn more about the PLA navy and China," he said. "I am also looking forward to visiting ships from other countries." He also said that people can learn with the help of such exchanges and this international event contributes to such learning.
Shan Junwei, a Qingdao resident, took his three-year-old grandson to visit Harbin and the Indian frigate Shivalik. He said he enjoyed the visits and is especially proud of China's warship, adding that tours of foreign ships offer an opportunity for the countries to display not only their military capabilities, but also their culture and tradition.
The various navies have also taken part in various sports, including basketball, soccer and boat racing.
"We played for friendship. It doesn't matter if we win or lose. The point is we all enjoyed the game," said Khalid Alimbong, an Indonesian mariner who played basketball with Chinese soldiers.
Australia did not send a ship for the event, but a military band flew to Qingdao from Sydney to perform at the port on the navy open day.
"The event is very well organized. It is fantastic visiting Qingdao," said Paul Cottier, the band's conductor. "We played a Chinese folk song for our local visitors."