Three Chinese warships have arrived in Auckland this morning, performing a 21-gun salute as they passed the Devonport naval base.
The destroyer Qingdao, the frigate Linyi, and a supply vessel Hongzehu, part of the People's Liberation Army Navy Task Force extended Pacific deployment, are visiting Auckland from 11-15 October 2013.
The Royal New Zealand Navy is hosting a programme of cultural and sporting activities for the Task Force's 680 sailors.
The visit by a Chinese Navy Task Force reflects New Zealand's wider engagement with defence partners from the Asia-Pacific region, said Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman.
"It is in New Zealand's interests to promote greater levels of engagement with a wide range of defence partners. This visit fits into our wider regional engagement programme."
Recently, HMNZS Te Mana joined the Chinese Task Force along with navy vessels from other ASEAN partners to take part in a multinational maritime security field training exercise in Australia.
"The visit also reflects our growing defence engagement with China, and the wider political and economic links between our countries."
Prime Minister John Key confirmed the ships had followed the requirements of New Zealand's nuclear free law, with the Chinese saying they were not nuclear powered and carried no nuclear weapons.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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