CAPE TOWN, June 17 (Xinhua) -- A cheering crowd of almost 1,000 people on Tuesday welcomed a Chinese navy fleet when it docked at the Victoria Bay in Cape Town, the final stop of its eight-country African tour.
South African Navy Flag Officer Fleet, Rear Admiral Robert Higgs said in a welcoming speech that the visit symbolizes the growing friendship and cooperation between South Africa and China, which would also help enhance cooperation between the navies of the two countries.
Higgs said that during the visit, there would be a series of exchange activities between the Escort Task Group and the South African navy. The South African public will also have a chance to visit the two modern missile frigates.
When joining hands together, the two countries can make greater contributions to regional and world peace, Higgs noted.
Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Tian Xuejun said the visit came at a time when China and South Africa had witnessed fast and sound advance of the China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership over recent years.
"Our cooperation in all fields has been promoted with abundant fruitful outcomes, from which both China and South Africa have benefited greatly," Tian said.
"This visit of the Escort Task Group is an important symbol of the friendly exchange and cooperation between China and South Africa and between Chinese and South African militaries as well as a vivid reflection of the ever-deepening friendship between our two peoples," Tian said.
Consisting of two missile frigates and a supply ship, the Escort Task Group has undertaken a peace voyage of nearly 200 days, sailing across the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean before it came to South Africa.
In the past six years, the Escort Task Group has participated in escort missions of the international community in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia, escorting in total more than 5,500 vessels.
According to Tian, the Escort Task Group will fully demonstrate the good image of the Chinese military as a mighty but peace- loving force.
"Their contributions will be highly appreciated and profoundly cherished by the Chinese people, the African people and people of the world," Tian added.