Two Chinese warships on Monday departed from Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, to join Australia and New Zealand navies in the first maritime exercises to be staged by the three countries.
The three navies will drill on communications, fleet formation, vessel supply, and search-and-rescue during the two-day drill on the sea off Sydney, Australia, said Major General Zhang Xuezeng of the North China Sea Fleet of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.
Shipborne helicopters will also drill on aerocade formation and record the exercises on the sea with cameras, according to Zhang.
The two Chinese warships are guided missile destroyer "Harbin" and fuel tanker "Hongze Lake".
The fleet with 483 crew members will also visit Australia and New Zealand.
China has so far sent 29 fleets with nearly 10,000 crew members to visit 34 countries.
On Nov. 16, 1985, a fleet composed of one guided missile destroyer and one fuel tanker set sail to visit Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, which was the first visit by Chinese fleet to other countries after the founding of the People's Republic of China.
In September 2006, the fleet also composed of the guided missile destroyer "Harbin" and fuel tanker " Hongze Lake" paid a visit to United States and held a joint maritime exercise with US navy.
"These visits have enhanced friendly relations between Chinese people and armies with their foreign counterparts," Zhang said.
(Xinhua News Agency September 11, 2007)