The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s guided-missile frigate, Yuncheng (571) arrived at the designated waters off Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh on Nov 25, 2017, local time, to participate in the upcoming International Multilateral Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise (IMMSAREX) of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS).
Before arriving, the frigate had been in navigation for 10 consecutive days since its departure from a naval port in Zhanjiang of South China’s Guangdong province on Nov 15, 2017.
After arriving in the designated water area at about 8:00 am that day, the frigate Yuncheng used the very high frequency (VHF) wave band to contact a nearby Bangladesh naval ship. The Bangladesh naval ship flagged a welcoming message in reply and guided the frigate to a designated anchorage, and at about 9:30, the Chinese naval ship anchored at the designated waters.
A Bangladesh naval liaison officer, who once studied in China as a student, said that the Chinese PLA naval ship is equipped with advanced equipment and is worthwhile for the Bangladesh Navy to learn from the PLA Navy in many aspects such as training and management. He said he hopes that the exercise can further enhance his understanding of the Chinese PLA Navy and deepen the friendship between the two countries and the two navies.
The IMMSAREX is scheduled to be held at waters off the Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh from Nov 27 to 29, 2017.
This is the first time for the Chinese PLA Navy to send its naval ship for the IMMSAREX, during which the Chinese frigate Yuncheng, on behalf of the PLA Navy, will conduct joint drills — such as the search and rescue of missing fishing boats – together with naval forces from other countries including Bangladesh, India and Iran.
The Chinese frigate Yuncheng will also take part in a maritime fleet review organized by the Bangladesh Navy and join a series of military and cultural exchange activities.
Yuncheng, China’s homegrown new missile frigate, had successively executed two escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somali and participated in the China-Russia “Joint Sea 2017” naval exercise. It had also visited over 10 countries including Mozambique, Thailand, UK, Germany, Netherlands, France, Greece and Singapore.
Founded in 2008, the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) currently has 35 member states and observers and aims to promote coordination and cooperation of maritime affairs among navies in the region through open and inclusive dialogue.
China became the observer of IONS in 2014. This is the first time that the Chinese Navy has send ships to participate in the multilateral exercises under the framework of the forum.
Huang Panyue, China Military Online/ Chinese MOD