AFRICANGLOBE – Vice Admiral Samuel Hlongwane, Chief of the South African Navy, is visiting China, where he met with his Chinese counterpart Admiral Wu Shengli.
Shengli is a member of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) and commander of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). He met Hlongwane in Beijing on November 2, reports ChinaMil.
Hlongwane was due to visit the North China Sea Fleet of the PLA Navy (PLAN) and the PLA Navy Submarine Academy, and tour PLA Navy warships.
During the visit, Shengli invited South African naval ships to visit China and welcomed South African naval cadets to study in the Asian nation.
Wu Shengli noted that South Africa and China enjoy good relations in terms of politics, economics, culture and security and said China-South Africa relations will become the model of friendly China-Africa cooperation.
He hoped that the two countries can further promote high-level visits, strengthen port calls by naval ships and personnel exchanges among military colleges and positively carry out anti-piracy cooperation, joint exercises and drills.
Chinese Navy warships have in the past called in on South Africa, with the first PLAN vessels visiting Simon’s Town in 2000. More recently, in April 2011 two Chinese frigates from the 7th Escorting Flotilla docked in Durban after their anti-piracy deployment in the Gulf of Aden.
In June last year three vessels comprising the 16th Escort Task Group of the Chinese Navy arrived in the Port of Cape Town on the last leg of a visit to eight African countries. The 16th Escort Task Group comprised the Type 054A missile frigate FFG-546 Yancheng, the Type 053H3 missile frigate FFG-527 Luoyang and the new Type 903 replenishment ship AOE-889 Taihu.
To celebrate ten years of China-South African diplomatic ties, between 16 and 20 October 2008 the SA Navy’s frigate SAS Spioenkop visited Shanghai, and conducted naval exercises with the PLAN. It was the first African Navy ship to pay an official visit to China.