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For the first time, the U.S. Navy on Wednesday welcomed two Chinese ships in Guam, the Luhai class guided-missile destroyer Shenzhen, and the oiler Qinghai Hu, U.S. Navy officials stated in a press release.

The U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville traveled from Yokosuka, Japan, to serve as the host ship for the visiting People’s Liberation Army (Navy) ships from China to Guam’s Apra Harbor.

Rear Adm. Xue Tianpei, task force commander and deputy commander of the Chinese Navy’s South Sea Fleet, embarked aboard the Shenzhen.

“On behalf of all of the officers and the men on board, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my deepest respect and sincerity to the American people, the military and to the U.S. Navy especially, thank you for your kind invitation,” Xue said in a statement released by the U.S. Navy.

Rear Adm. Frederic Ruehe, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Japan, and Rear Adm. Patrick Dunne, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Marianas, greeted the Chinese vessels.

“Interaction between our navies maintains a stable military to military relationship not only for the Navy but for our nations,” Ruehe said in the statement.

“We have an important responsibility to do what we can to develop a cooperative and constructive relationship.”

During the port call, U.S. and Chinese sailors hosted reciprocal ship tours.

More information can be found on the U.S. Naval Forces Marianas Web site at www.guam.navy.mil

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