On September 6, 2007, the Chinese Naval Task Force composed of the guided missile destroyer "Guangzhou" (hull number 168) and the comprehensive replenishment vessel "Weishanhu" (hull number 887) arrived at the Portsmouth Port of UK and began the 5-day goodwill visit in UK.
At about 8 am, the task force arrived at the Portsmouth Naval Port smoothly, "Guangzhou" fired 21-gun state salute and UK Royal Navy returned 21-gun salute. The task force was warmly welcomed by the Portsmouth Squadron of UK Royal Navy, overseas Chinese, delegates of overseas students and staff of the Chinese Embassy. Zhang Jianguo, Military Attache of the Chinese Embassy, presided over the short but cordial welcome ceremony. Brigadier Cameron of the Portsmouth Squadron of UK Royal Navy, H.E. Mme. Ambassador Fu Ying, Dr. Shan Sheng (Chairman of British Federation of Overseas Chinese for Promoting Unification of China) and Rear Admiral Su Zhiqian (Commander of the Chinese Naval Task Force and Deputy Commander of South Sea Fleet) delivered speeches successively.
Brigadier Cameron said that UK Naval Task Force had visited Chinese ports for many time in the past years and the Chinese Naval Task Force had also visited UK, these exchanges of visits had promoted the navies of the two countries to get deeper understanding of each other and become brothers on the sea.
Fu Ying pointed out the Chinese Naval Task Force not only brought the information about the advancement of Chinese Navy, but also brought the good wish of Chinese Navy to carry out friendly cooperation with UK Navy and it was a better confirmation of the overall strategic partnership between the two countries. She said the exchanges of the two navies had a very important position in the exchanges of the two countries and they are the "barometer" of the bilateral relationship to a certain extent. UK Navy had a long history while Chinese Navy was during the development process, the "handshakes" of the two navies in forms of exchange visits were good for them to learn from and exchange with each other and were of important significance to promoting bilateral relations.
Full of passion, Dr. Shan Sheng said that the Chinese nation had always been a leading one in the world and the fatuous and incompetent Qing government resulted in the invasion of big powers and made the Chinese nation suffer for 200 years. The tool for the big powers to invade China was the strong navy. This year is the 600th anniversary of Zheng He's Voyages to the Western Seas and the 55th anniversary of the birth of Chinese PLA Navy. The visit of Chinese Naval Task Force in UK proved that the Chinese could do anything that the foreigners could do and could even do better than foreigners! Dr. Shan Sheng said he was proud to be a Chinese!
Rear Admiral Su Zhiqian said that the task force had a deep feeling of the profound affectionateness of the broad overseas Chinese, delegates of the overseas students and the staff of the Chinese Embassy upon its arrival at Portsmouth, he would express his sincere thanks to the warm welcome on behalf of the officers and soldiers of the task force. He said that General Wu Shengli, Commander of Chinese Navy, visited UK in April 2007 and reached a lot of consensuses with the leaders of UK Navy. This visit was a specific implementation of the consensuses between the leaders of the two navies. Su Zhiqian introduced that Chinese Navy also had a special mission during this visit to UK, the task force would have the first joint military exercises with UK Royal Navy in the territorial water of UK, which fully showed that the pragmatic relationship between the two navies had entered a new stage.
After the welcome ceremony, Rear Admiral Su Zhiqian accompanied H.E. Mme. Ambassador Fu Ying to visit the ships. The officers of UK Navy and the welcoming team also visited the ships with great interest under the guidance of the officers and soldiers of the task force. Overseas Chinese in UK bought a lot of vegetables and fruits to convey regards and appreciation.
This is the second visit of Chinese Naval Task Force to UK after the first one in 2001. During the visit, the officers and soldiers of the two navies will visit the ships of each other and will hold such sport events as football matches. The accompanying military band of Chinese Navy will also perform for the citizens of Portsmouth. This visit is of great significance to strengthening the exchanges and cooperation between the two navies and further enhancing the mutual trust of the two sides.
Chinese Naval Task Force started for Russia on July 24 and arrived at St. Petersburg of Russia for a goodwill visit on August 27. Portsmouth of UK is the second leg of the task force's visit to the four counties in Europe, the task force will also visit Spain and France.