TWO mammoth ships with the Chinese Navy's Task Group on Sunday docked at the Dar es Salaam Port for a four-day visit aimed at cultural and navy experience sharing.
Tanzania becomes the first country visited by the group after the escort mission in the Gulf of Aden. The welcoming ceremony, which took place at the port's premises, was attended by Chinese Embassy officials, Tanzania Navy officials and staff from a number of Chinese enterprises in Tanzania.
The officers and men in white uniforms, lined up in military parade style on the sides of the warships, saluted and welcomed visitors.With two national flags, Tanzanian and Chinese, fluttering on air, traditional dance performers stole the show with a thrilling display as over 400 people witnessed.
The Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania, Dr Lu Youquing, said that the aim of the visit was to strengthen relationship between Tanzania and China navies. He said that basing on the strongly-built relationship between the two countries, it was vital to ensure that more experiences on navy activities are shared among nations.
Dr Youquing added that China and Tanzania established diplomatic relations in 1964 and there were much more to be done to cement it. "Since then, the relationship between these two countries has been developing in the stable and sustainable course and the cooperation in many fields deepening continuously," he noted.
The deputy commander of the visiting Task Group, Mr Xiao Minsheng, said that a number of activities will be held between the two sides such as visiting warships and cultural exchanges with the marine corps of the two navies holding an exercise demonstration. He noted that during the following days, the group will hold a deck reception while there would be courtesy visits to the Chief of Defence Forces, Commander of Tanzania Navy, the Mayor of Dar es Salaam and other military and political leaders.
Acting Navy Commander Rogastian Shaaban said that the visit, among other things, would greatly help improve the enduring relationship between Tanzania and China. He said there are a number of things which Tanzanian navy officers will learn from their Chinese counterparts, thus contributing to perking up Tanzanian navy and military systems.
The visiting group was deployed in the Gulf of Aden by the Chinese Navy in August, this year. It composes LPD Jing Gangshan (hull number 999), FFG (hull number 572) and supply ship Tai Hu (hull number 889) with three helicopters and 80 Marine Corps members.