Bandar Seri Begawan - In the latest sign of good relations between Brunei Darussalam and China, the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) training vessel 'Zhenghe' berthed at the Bravo Jetty at the Royal Brunei Naval Base in Muara amid a warm welcoming ceremony.
The training ship - named after a famous Chinese maritime explorer 600 years ago - will head back to China after its three-day stopover at the Sultanate.
The vessel will be open to visits from the general tomorrow between 10am and 12am at the Royal Brunei Naval base in Muara. A shuttle bus will be made available on Thursday at the parking area of the navy gym to ferry visitors to the dock where the 'Zhenghe' is berthed.
The Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Brunei Darussalam, Zheng Xianglin who was present at the welcoming ceremony said, "Zhenghe, the Chinese explorer sailed to many countries in Asia including Brunei some 600 years ago and today, after hundreds of years, we witness the Zhenghe's return to Brunei".
He went on to say. "We are here once again to witness this historic moment, which will contribute further to new developments in bilateral ties between China and Brunei Darussalam, such as in the fields of defence, trade, finance and culture."
He added that the 'Zhenghe' has travelled to at least 10 countries so far as part of its harmonious friendship mission and "we hope, that similar to 600 years ago, the message of peace will be spread to countries all around the world".
Some 140 Royal Brunei Navy personnel were on hand to welcome the vessel upon its arrival.
Also present at the ceremony were prominent figures in the local Chinese community including the President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Dr Chan Sui Mat; and the president of the Brunei Hokkien Association, Mr Lim Han Chiong.
On hand to welcome the commander of the Zhenghe, Rear Admiral Liao Shining was Lieutenant Colonel Pg Norazmi of the Royal Brunei Navy.
During discussions held between the Chinese Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam and the Commander of the Zhenghe, the Rear Admiral voiced his praise and satisfaction with the conduct of two Brunei naval officers - 820 Lieutenant Mohammad Akramin bin Alidin and 926 Lieutenant Mohammad Nasdi bin Hj Abdul Hamit - who had been on board the Zhenghe since September 6, when they boarded the training ship from Surabaya, Indonesia.
Rear Admiral Liao Shining said, "In raising the professionalism of all naval personnel, we currently have a few naval personnel representing various countries on board for short-term training exercises to increase inter-operability capabilities.'
The vessel, which is carrying 309 personnel, includes 113 navy cadets - of which 13 are female cadets. Other senior officials on board the Zhenghe are Senior Captain (N) Jiang Guoping and Captain (N) Fan Kuiju.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin