MANILA—The Department of National Defense (DND) is always open to goodwill visits by foreign navies.
This was stated by DND public affairs office chief Arsenio Andolong Friday when sought for a comment on the three-day goodwill visit of three ships from China People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Task Group 150 in Sasa Wharf, Davao City on April 30 to May 2.
“The DND is always open to goodwill visits to our country by foreign navies. Just like the US, Vietnam, Russia, and New Zealand, we welcome China’s initiative to visit our country. Aside from it being a confidence building activity, we’d like to assume that it is a gesture on their part to underscore the warming relations between our countries,” he said.
When asked to comment on the fact the visit will happen on President Rodrigo Duterte’s home town, Andolong stressed that it is always the option of the visiting naval force to visit any port they choose.
“They have the option to visit any port which is convenient for them. I don’t want to assume anything beyond that. Perhaps the crew wants to see what Davao is like,” he added.
The three visiting Chinese ships are the Chang Chun (DDG-150), a guided missile destroyer; Jin Zhou (FF-G532), a guided missile frigate; and, Chao Hu (890), a replenishment ship.
The customary welcome ceremony and port briefing will be conducted upon arrival of the Chinese ships at Sasa Wharf.
The meeting point procedure will be held at a vicinity north of Davao Gulf.
The flotilla is headed by Rear Admiral ShenHao, the Deputy Commander of the East Sea Fleet of the PLA Navy and concurrent Commander in Chief of the PLA Navy Task Group 150.