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Chinese navy ships to dock in Sihanoukville

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Anti-piracy search and rescue drills held during the 24th batch of escort formation of the Chinese Navy in January 17, 2017. WANG ZHANGSONG/CCTV

Chinese navy ships to dock in Sihanoukville

Three Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (Plan) ships will spend four days at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port on an official visit from Wednesday to Saturday, Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha said on Sunday.

He said there will be no joint military drill as the visit coincides with Wednesday’s celebration of recent achievements on Koh Rong island, including the inauguration of a new naval outpost.

Sokha said China had requested the Sihanoukville visit to strengthen bilateral military ties.

The three Plan ships have no special mission, he said, and after the visit they will return to China, but he was unsure whether they would first continue to Thailand or Vietnam.

“They come for one simple purpose and nothing else. It is typical as our country is always friendly to foreign guests, not only Chinese visitors. Every year our country welcomes foreign navy forces from places such as Europe and Asia,” Tea Sokha said.

The National Committee for Maritime Security (NCMS) on Sunday said two of the ships, Plan Wuhu and Plan Handan, are 135m long and 16m wide with a displacement of 4,100 tonnes.

They are under the respective commands of Yang Kai and Zhao Shu Qian.

Welcoming event

The third ship, Plan Dong Ping Lake, is 179m long and 255m wide with a displacement of 20,500 tonnes.

Wednesday, the day of the Chinese ships’ arrival, will see a celebration of Koh Rong island’s important recent achievements.

It will include the inauguration of a new naval outpost to ensure maritime security and a technical inspection of naval speedboat engines.

The event will also celebrate the installation of a new artificial marine life habitat on the island and the building of two bridges connecting Koh Rong with nearby islands.

Navy commander and NCMS secretary-general Tea Vinh said he will chair the Koh Rong celebration but has not yet contacted the event organiser for full details.

NCMS Secretariat deputy commander Mornh Chhundy told The Post on Sunday: “This naval outpost has been built to deploy experts to better manage information to ensure future maritime security.”

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