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Chinese naval escort fleet wraps up visit to Greece

2015-02-21 08:44 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

The 18th Chinese naval escort fleet wrapped up on Friday its formal goodwill visit to Greece and embarked on the voyage back to China.

During the 4-day visit, the fleet was welcomed by the Greek navy and the government in a series of high-profile ceremonies.

The Fleet Commander and Deputy Chief of Staff of the South China Sea fleet, Rear Admiral Zhang Chuanshu, met with Greek political heavyweights such as the Hellenic Navy Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis and the mayor of Piraeus, Yannis Moralis.

The fleet held an "open day" and a deck reception. During its visit, mutual Sino-Hellenic ship visits and basketball tournaments were also organized.

Greek President Karolos Papoulias met with Zhang Chuanshu and accompanying officers on Thursday, the first day of the Lunar Chinese New Year, and highly commended the contributions the Chinese escort fleet has made towards the freedom and safety of dangerous international sea routes.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, with his high-ranking civil and military officials, aboard the amphibious landing ship Changbaishan on Thursday night to participate in a reception celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Addressing the reception, Tsipras expressed his anticipation for the strengthening of cooperation and communication between the two countries, as well as between Chinese and Hellenic navies in the new year.

This is the first time Papoulias has granted an audience to the commanding officers of a visiting naval fleet during his 10 years' tenure, and the first time Prime Minister Tsipras has attended a deck reception of a foreign navy since assuming office.


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