TOKYO, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- Chinese naval destroyer Taiyuan arrived in Sagami Bay, southwest of Tokyo in Japan on Thursday to join an international fleet review scheduled for Oct. 14.
It is the first time for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy to participate in a naval review hosted by Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF), and the first time for a Chinese naval ship to visit Japan in 10 years.
The Taiyuan, a guided missile destroyer, entered the sea near Yokosuka at about 7:00 a.m. local time and was welcomed by Japanese MSDF vessels. A grand welcoming ceremony was held with the participation of more than 300 representatives from the Chinese side and the Japanese MSDF.
Kong Xuanyou, the Chinese ambassador to Japan, said at the welcoming ceremony that the naval destroyer is seen as an envoy of peace and friendship.
The participation in the international fleet review demonstrated China's sincerity in promoting the sound development of China-Japan relations and its willingness to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with other countries, he said, adding that it also conveyed China's firm belief in peaceful development.
According to Kong, defense cooperation is an important part of China-Japan relations. He hoped the defense departments of the two countries could further strengthen exchanges and communication, properly manage differences, enhance mutual trust, promote constructive security relations in line with the new era, so as to inject momentum into the continuous improvement and long-term, healthy and stable development of bilateral relations.
Gong Yuanxin, a Chinese naval officer, said that Japan has sent destroyer JS Suzutsuki (DD-117) to join the naval parade held by China in April in China's Shandong province to celebrate the 70th founding anniversary of the PLA Navy. All officers and soldiers of the Taiyuan will show a new look of the Chinese army with excellent qualities and fine style, said Gong.
Head of the MSDF Yokosuka District Gojiro Watanabe said during the ceremony that he hoped the exchange activity will help promote the friendly relations between the Japanese Self Defense Forces and the Chinese navy and enhance the friendship between the two countries.
Vessels from Australia, Britain, Canada, India, Singapore and the United States are also scheduled to join the naval review, which will be held on Oct. 14 in Sagami Bay off Kanagawa Prefecture, according to the MSDF.
South Korea was not invited to the event over soured ties between Tokyo and Seoul.