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Celebrating the navy's achievements

QINGDAO Port in east China is ready today to begin celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy.

The four-day celebration will involve 21 naval vessels from 14 countries, Changjiang Daily reported today.

Qingdao is home to China's Northern Fleet. Chinese vessels including the frigate Luoyang and Destroyer 116 are in port, and all of the 21 foreign vessels will be docked by noon today.

Ships already in port ready to take part in the "Peaceful Ocean" activities hail from Brazil, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.

Officials from 29 nations will also attend, including the US Chief of Naval Operations, and the Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief.

The 6,800-tonne USS Fitzgerald, a destroyer from the 7th Fleet, arrived at the port city in east China's Shandong Province yesterday afternoon.

It took three days for the ship, equipped with the sophisticated Aegis missile defense system, to sail from its home port in Japan's Yokosuka.

Commander Richard Dromerhauser, the destroyer's commanding officer, said it was a great opportunity to share ideas, saying face-to-face communications with his Chinese counterparts will be "much better than simply reading about them," Xinhua news agency reported.

US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead and the Commander of the 7th Fleet, Vice Admiral John Bird, will be flying to Qingdao to attend.

Roughead is the highest-ranking US officer to visit China this year. Roughead's last visit to China was in November 2006 when he was commander of the US Pacific Fleet.

Among other vessels that arrived over the weekend were the landing vessel Garcia D'avila of the Brazilian Navy, carrying 49 soldiers and officers, the sailing ship ARM Cuauhtemoc of the Mexican Navy, and the Pakistan Navy's destroyer Badr and supply ship Nasr.

The Cuauhtemoc is making its third visit to China after docking in Shanghai in 1990 and 2002.
The ceremony, which will include a fleet parade and a sampan race, will mark the founding of the People's Liberation Army's Navy on April 23, 1949, months before the People's Republic of China was formally established in October.


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