Two Chinese navy ships on Monday sailed into Esquimalt Harbor -- Canada's Pacific Naval Headquarters -- just outside Victoria, provincial capital of British Columbia, for a five-day visit.
The Maple Leaf flew alongside the Chinese red flag, as 506 Chinese sailors dressed in spotless white uniforms, lined up on board for the official welcome from Commodore Bruce Donaldson, commander of Canadian Fleet Pacific.
"We have a very good professional relationship between the two nations," Donaldson said.
Rear Admiral Wang Fushan, deputy commander of the Chinese Navy North Sea Fleet, said the purpose of the visit to Canada was to enhance the mutual friendship and trust between the two nations.
"We cherish the traditional friendship between the two peoples and the two militaries," he said.
During the visit, the 506 crew members of the guided-missile destroyer Qingdao and supply ship Hongzehu will visit the B.C. legislature, meet with the local Chinese community and participate in several sporting events.
Before landing in Victoria, they also visited Pearl Harbor and San Diego earlier this month, to conduct a number of exercises with the US Navy.
The Chinese sailors will take on Canadian teams in soccer and basketball games on Wednesday. A tug-of-war match is also on the agenda.
The Chinese navy first visited Victoria in 2000 and Canadian naval vessels have paid three visits to Chinese ports.
(Xinhua News Agency September 26, 2006)