Keiki Hula dancers perform for visiting sailors of the Chinese People's Liberation Army-Navy following their arrival at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Sept. 6 for a port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Barker)

PEARL HARBOR - Three People's Liberation Army-Navy [PLA(N)] ships pulled into Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Sept. 6, for a routine port visit.

The crewmembers of the Luhu-class destroyer Qingdao (DDG 113), Jiangkai-class frigate Linyi (FFG-547) and Fuqing-class fleet oiler Hongzehu (AOR 881) are scheduled to participate in receptions and sporting events with their American counterparts.

In addition to those events, they will also have the opportunity to visit the historical sites of Hawaii, including the newly unveiled statue of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander during World War II.

The visit will be topped-off with a one-day search-and-rescue drill on Monday, Sept. 9.

"Like our Pacific Fleet Commander of today, Adm. Haney, Fleet Adm. Nimitz believed in a strategy of collaboration and cooperation to reinforce openness and enhance trust," said Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. "Through greater understanding we can ensure a peaceful and stable future not only for Hawaii and the Pacific, but also for the world."

This visit is part of a planned series of military-to-military exchanges between the two nations - earlier this year Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, visited China, as the guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) made a port visit to Zhanjiang. The guided missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) will be hosting the ships this weekend, which will also conduct dialogues to build confidence and mutual understanding between the two nations.

Rear Adm. Williams continued to stress the importance of these exchanges, as he continued through his welcoming remarks.

"Here in Hawaii, we are committed to doing our part to build regional stability," he said. "Working with other nations in the Asia-Pacific we can develop increased understanding to deal with common challenges in this region, [including] humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, piracy prevention and search and rescue missions."

Williams also stressed the importance of training in this area, building our future together and strengthening operational proficiency like the search-and-rescue drill.

"We're including a search and rescue exercise that includes maneuvers, we're going to have helicopters working together and working the airspace deconfliction, and we're going to be doing small boat operations back and forth, to all the ships and we're going to be doing communication drills," he added.

The last port visit by PLA(N) ships to Pearl Harbor was in September of 2006. Engagements such as this port visit, offer the U.S Navy an opportunity to build a positive and constructive relationship with the Chinese navy while encouraging multilateral cooperation, enhancing transparency and mitigating risk.

Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, shakes hands with Rear Adm. Wei Gang, chief of staff, North Sea Fleet, following an an arrival ceremony for the visiting ships. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nardel Gervacio)
Chinese citizens wave the U.S. and China flags as the People's Liberation Army-Navy ship Qingdao (DDG 113) arrives. (U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Nardel Gervacio)
The Chinese People's Liberation Army-Navy Jiangkai-class frigate Linyi (FFG 547) moors alongside the Luhu-class destroyer Qingdao (DDG 113) following the ships' arrival. (U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Daniel Barker)