HONOLULU — Three Chinese navy warships will pull into Pearl Harbor on Friday on the first such visit in seven years, the U.S. Navy said.
The visiting ships include the Qingdao, a Luhu-class destroyer; Linyi, a Jiangkai-class frigate; and Hongzehu, a Fuqing-class fleet oiler.
As the capstone to the port visit, all three ships will participate in a one-day search-and-rescue drill Monday with the cruiser USS Lake Erie "that will highlight the ability of the two nations to cooperate and communicate at sea," the Navy said.
The last port visit by People's Liberation Army Navy ships to Pearl Harbor (by the Qingdao and Hongzehu) was exactly seven years ago to the day on Sept. 6, 2006.
"This port visit is part of the U.S. Navy's ongoing effort to maximize opportunities for developing relationships with foreign navies as a tool to build trust, encourage multilateral cooperation, enhance transparency, and avoid miscalculation in the Pacific," the Navy said in a release.
As part of a planned series of military-to-military exchanges between the two nations, Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, visited China in May in conjunction with a port visit by the cruiser USS Shiloh at Zhanjiang, China.
During what is being termed a reciprocal port visit to Pearl Harbor, the Chinese ships will be hosted by USS Lake Erie.
Over the weekend, Chinese and U.S. leaders will conduct talks "to build confidence and mutual understanding between the two nations," the Navy said. The port visit will give Chinese sailors an opportunity to interact with their U.S. counterparts.
Other foreign-flagged ships that have come to Hawaii this year include the British destroyer Daring, Australian frigate Perth, and Japanese ships Shimokita, Atago, and Hyuga.