RIGA, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Military seamen of a Chinese naval fleet and cadets of the Latvian National Defense Academy played a football match on the pitch of the Latvian Academy of Sport Education on Sunday morning.
Chinese Ambassador to Latvia Huang Yong and the Latvian National Defense Academy's deputy head, Colonel Valts Aboltins, were among the spectators watching the good-will game.
Ambassador Huang Yong told Xinhua that the "visit of the Chinese naval fleet is a major event in the history of Chinese-Latvian bilateral relations and the first visit of Chinese naval ships to Latvia in the 26 years since the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries."
He added: "The Latvian side regards the visit as highly significant. In recent years, the bilateral relations have been developing successfully, with military ties playing an important part in these relations. Today's competition is important because it will help deepen mutual understanding and strengthen friendship between the armed forces of the two countries".
Valts Aboltins noted that this is the first time that the Latvian side welcomes a Chinese naval fleet and hosts a friendly football match with Chinese naval seamen. "It's going to be exciting. I think that for our cadets it's a great event from which they will gain new experience. They know very little about China. I hope this will be a friendly competition and the guys will make friends."
The Chinese naval fleet called on the Freeport of Riga Saturday morning to start a three-day visit to the Baltic country following a friendly visit to Helsinki, Finland.
The Chinese fleet comprises three modern vessels currently in the service of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.