Members of a special battle force stand on China's missile destroyer Haikou at a naval port in Sanya, south China's Hainan Province, June 9, 2014. The Chinese navy will participate in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) multinational naval exercises for the first time. A missile destroyer, a missile frigate, a supplier ship and a hospital ship of the Chinese navy left for the United States on Monday to attend the exercises. (Xinhua/Hu Kaibing)
SANYA, Hainan, June 9 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese fleet participating in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) multinational naval exercises sailed out for the drill Monday.
The fleet departed from military harbors in southern city of Sanya and eastern city of Zhoushan respectively. It is the first time for the Chinese navy to take part in RIMPAC.
At the sendoff at Sanya, Xu Hongmeng, a deputy commander of the navy, said the mission was an important part of the efforts to build a new model of relations between China and the United States and their militaries.
The mission is significant in diplomatic terms as it will help relations between China and nations in the south Pacific, Xu added.
The Chinese forces participating in the exercise include missile destroyer Haikou, missile frigate Yueyang, supply ship Qiandaohu, hospital ship Peace Ark, two helicopters, a commando and a diving squad, involving altogether 1,100 officers and soldiers.
The Chinese fleet will join naval forces from Singapore, Brunei and the United States in waters off Guam and then sail to Hawaii for RIMPAC.
After the drill concludes, Haikou, Yueyang and Qiandaohu will sail to San Diego, U.S. for visits, and the Peace Ark will sail to Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea for a medical service mission.
The RIMPAC, started in 1971, is the world's largest multinational maritime military exercise. A total of 23 nations will participate in the 2014 RIMPAC.