A navy ship group of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), headed by Major General Yang Fucheng, deputy commander of the PLA South Sea Fleet, called on the Auckland Port on Thursday to begin its four-day goodwill visit to New Zealand after it paid a visit to Australia.
The group, which consists of guided missile frigate Yichang and replenishment ship Taicang, was given a warm welcome at the wharf, where Admiral David Ledson, commander of sea of the New Zealand Navy, and Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Chen Mingming had enthusiastic handshakes with Major General Yang.
More than 1,000 local overseas Chinese gathered at the wharf, welcoming 389 officers and men of the PLA Navy. They waved Chinese and New Zealand national flags, held welcome streamers, performed traditional Chinese dances, and chanted: "Warm welcome!"
Local Maori people also did their traditional welcome dance.
Accompanied by Admiral Ledson, Major General Yang reviewd a guard of honor of the New Zealand Navy.
Major General Yang told reporters that all the officers and men of his group were very moved by the warmth and enthusiasm shown to them by the New Zealand naval side and local people, local overseas Chinese in particular. The aim of the group's visit to New Zealand is to deepen understanding and friendship between the two countries and the two navies, and promote their friendly exchange and cooperation.
During their stay in Auckland, the officers and men of the PLA Navy ship group will have a series of friendly activities with New Zealand colleagues and with local overseas Chinese.
(Xinhua News Agency 10/11/2001)