Cmdr. Justin Harts, commanding officer of USS Benfold (DDG 65), greets members of the People's Liberation Army (Navy) after the ship's arrival for a port visit. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Deven Leigh Ellis)

QINGDAO, China - Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) arrived in Qingdao, China, Aug. 8, for a scheduled port visit.

Benfold’s visit advances maritime cooperation and encourages a positive naval relationship with the People's Liberation Army (Navy) (PLA(N)) North Sea Fleet.

"Sailors are Sailors at the end of the day, be it in the East or in the West; we all face the same challenges at sea. These similarities unite us. I am sure that by the end of the week we will see that American Sailors and Chinese sailors are as close as any other sailors out on the high seas," said Cmdr. Justin Harts, Benfold's commanding officer. “This port visit is a tremendous opportunity to build relationships between Sailors based on shared interests and perspectives.”

As part of the visit to Qingdao, Benfold will host a reception and ship visits, as well as attend those hosted by the PLA(N). The scheduled events, including a sports day and community relations event featuring the U.S. 7th Fleet Band, will allow Sailors from both nations to interact and build relationships through their shared maritime interests.

Benfold Sailors will have the opportunity to explore Qingdao through tours organized by the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation program.

Benfold, forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, and a member of Destroyer Squadron 15, is on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

USS Benfold (DDG 65) file photo. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Gabrielle Blake)