The Honolulu-based US Coast Guard cutter Rush berthed in east China's coastal city of Qingdao on Sunday afternoon at the beginning of a five-day visit at the invitation of China's Ministry of Public Security (MPS).
Rush is the first major Coast Guard vessel to visit China since World War II, according to Capt. Dana Ware, the vessel's commanding officer. The 115-meter cutter and its crew of 190 were warmly welcomed by Chinese counterparts and local people upon their arrival in the harbor at Qingdao.
Major General Chen Weiming of the MPS Border Control Department and Vice Admiral Charles D. Wurster of the US Coast Guard addressed the welcoming crowds.
During Rush's stay in Qingdao the two sides will conduct professional law enforcement exchanges which will serve to enhance international cooperation policing law at sea.
Both Chinese and US law enforcement teams will also hold a forum to discuss and demonstrate techniques for boarding and searching suspected vessels and share information on combating crimes at sea.
Rush crew members will also participate in sporting events such as basketball and cultural tours with their Chinese counterparts to deepen mutual understanding. The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security of the US Law enforcement cooperation is recognized as being important to Sino-US relations.
To enforce the China-US agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters -- combating transnational crimes, anti-narcotics patrols, the return of fugitives and illegal immigration -- the two countries have enhanced relations since the setting-up of the China-US Joint Liaison Group on law enforcement cooperation in 1998 which is designed to promote bilateral cooperation in combating a range of crimes.
Rush is one of two High Endurance Cutters based in Honolulu. The primary mission of Rush is to enforce laws and treaties and conduct search and rescue missions throughout Pacific waters.
(Xinhua News Agency June 12, 2006)