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HONG KONG - Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley, commander of Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, hosted a reception in the hangar bay aboard amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) for distinguished guests from Hong Kong, April 15.
The reception was held to celebrate and strengthen the relationship between the United States and the People's Republic of China and Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong.
"I've been to Hong Kong maybe seven times throughout my naval career and every time I come back I'm delighted to receive the blessings and the grace of such a wonderful people," said Harley.
The reception included the parading of colors, the playing of the United States and People's Republic of China anthems, and remarks from Harley and Matt Matthews, acting U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong. The event concluded with a cake cutting.
In addition to Matthews, distinguished guests included Maj. Gen. Dong Chao, deputy commander, People's Liberation Army (PLA) garrison Hong Kong, as well as other members from the PLA and their guests.
"It is always a fantastic experience to have a U.S. Naval ship and [an] amphibious group, such as this one, come into port and be able to partake of all the wonderful activities offered in Hong Kong," said Matthews. "It is a great chance for our American Sailors and Marines to learn a lot about Asia, and Hong Kong in particular. It's also a great chance for the people of Hong Kong to show what a great time they can put on for our visitors."
Matthews encouraged continued commitment "to maintaining prosperity and security in this region," represented by Peleliu and other ships of the amphibious squadron visit.
The distinguished visitors, with refreshments in hand, toured the hangar and flight deck to see the various aircraft, including an AV-8B Harrier jet, and MH-60S Knighthawk and CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters. Pilots stood nearby to explain aircraft capabilities and to answer questions from the guests. Various other static displays such as an aircraft tractor and an Internal Transportable Vehicle (Retrofitted) were in the hangar bay as well.
"I'm grateful to this great ship for hosting tonight's event and I would like to thank the officer's and crew of the USS Peleliu," Harley said. "I'm thankful for each and everyone's attendance here. It was through that dialogue, it was through those contacts and it is through that friendship that we develop with events like this that can carry us forward, in spite of the complex issues that we address in this very complex and dynamic world."
Peleliu's port visits represents an important opportunity to promote peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, demonstrate commitment to regional partners and foster growing relationships. Peleliu is the flagship for the Peleliu Amphibious Assault Group on deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility with amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47) and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.