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Shanghai receives 1st African warship
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  South African Navy's escort ship SAS Spioenkop

South African Navy's escort ship SAS Spioenkop

The first warship from the African continent to visit China docked at Huangpu River port yesterday, ending 600 years of one-way visits.

The SAS Spioenkop with "all religions and races in the new South Africa on board, symbolizes a new transformation in South Africa", Rear Admiral Rusty Higgs said at a welcoming ceremony in Shanghai.

"I can feel the excitement of the ship's company. They've gone through a long trip and some quite rough weather. I know they are happy to be here," he said.

The visit is part of the yearlong celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of China-South Africa diplomatic relations.

A Chinese frigate escorted the Spioenkop into the port.

Wu Weihua, chief of staff of the Shanghai Naval Base of the East China Sea Fleet, headed a delegation of military and local officials, and diplomats, to welcome the ship.

"You've traveled a long distance to bring the friendly greetings of the South African people. We really appreciate it," Wu said.

South African Ambassador to China Ndumiso Ntshinga was also there to welcome the ship.

"A plan to send a South African warship to China was discussed more than a year ago as a way to consolidate relations with China. We also realized that there was a gap in bilateral naval visits," Ntshinga said.

"In history, the Chinese twice made voyages to South Africa, one during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the other in 2000, but we never reciprocated the visits," he said.

 Shanghai receives first African warship

Shanghai receives first African warship 

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