China has had a long history of friendly exchanges with Sri Lanka, the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka said today.
The Embassy said this Ark Peace, which is under Mission Harmony 2017, began her first goodwill visit to Sri Lanka.
Yi Xianliang, Ambassador of China in Sri Lanka, Commodore Uthpala, Deputy Area Commander West of Sri Lanka navy, Senior Colonel Xu jianwei, Defense Attaché of Embassy of China in Sri Lanka attended the welcome ceremony at the port, along with the officers and ratings of Sri Lanka navy, representatives of the Chinese enterprise and overseas Chinese.
During the visit, Rear Admiral Guan Bailin, the mission commander will pay courtesy call on Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, Commander of Sri Lanka navy, and Rear Admiral Niraja Attygalle, Commander Western Naval Area. Meanwhile, Ark Peace will provide free medical service and treatment for Sri Lanka forces and police as well as the local people. Ark Peace will be open to the local public.
“China and Sri Lanka have a long history of friendly exchanges. Zheng He, a Ming Dynasty navigator, arrived in Sri Lanka for many times when he sailed to Indian Ocean. On February 7, 1957, China and Sri Lanka established formal diplomatic tie which was promoted to the strategic cooperation partnership in May, 2013. Chinese naval task group, comprising missile destroyer Changchun and comprehensive replenishment ship Hefei, made the first port visit to Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka in 1985. From then on, there are more than 10 batches, totaling over 20 ships, made port call or berthed in Sri Lanka,” the Chinese Embassy in Colombo said.
In May 2017, the Chinese naval oceangoing task group, consisting of missile destroyer Changchun, missile frigate Jingzhou and the comprehensive replenishment ship Chaohu visited Colombo.
The Chinese PLA Navy’s hospital ship Ark Peace is a large maritime medical platform designed and built in China. She was commissioned in December 2008, hull number 866. The ship has got a length of 178 meters and a beam of 24 meters. She has got 8 levels and a full load displacement of 14,300 tons. The 4000 m2 hospital is divided into five main areas respectively for casualty transfer, triage, outpatient, inpatient and evacuation.
Ark Peace assumes the missions of treating and evacuating the casualties at sea during wartime, giving medical service to inhabitants and servicemen on islands during peacetime, participating in international humanitarian assistance, providing emergency medical aid in the event of major disasters as well as conducting military medical exchanges and cooperation with foreign countries, thus the ship has been praised as the Ark of Life.
Since her commission, Ark Peace has sailed altogether 170,000 nautical miles for over 13,000 hours, visited 29 countries covering three oceans and five continents and provided medical service to over twelve thousand people overseas. She has since been carrying forward international humanitarianism, spreading the concept of “Harmonious Ocean, Harmonious World” and making active contributions to the spread of peace, friendship and love.
Colombo is the first port which Ark Peace visited in conducting Mission Harmony 2017. Leaving Sri Lanka on 9 August, Ark Peace will also visit Djibouti, Sierra Leone, Gabon, the republic of Congo, Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania and the East Timor and technically berth in Spain and Indonesia.
This is the sixth time for Ark Peace to conduct Mission Harmony after she carried out Mission Harmony and provided medical service for 5 countries in 2010, 4 countries in 2011, 8 countries in 2013, 4 countries in 2014 and 8 countries in 2015 as well. (Colombo Gazette)