Chinese Navy makes 1st visit to Poland to strengthen ties

WARSAW, POLAND: A Chinese Navy destroyer, a Chinese frigate and a Chinese supply vessel sailed into Poland's navy port of Gdynia on Wednesday on the first such visit ever, marking 66 years of diplomatic ties and aiming to strengthen them even more.

Capt. Maj. Przemyslaw Plonecki, the spokesman for Poland's 3rd Navy Flotilla, told The Associated Press that the flotilla's command officers paid a visit to the destroyer in an official welcoming ceremony.

The Chinese Embassy website said Poland is the vessels' sixth stop on a "worldwide visit." Responding to an invitation from Poland's Navy command, the anti-air force destroyer Jinan 152, the Yiyang 548 frigate and the Qiandaohu 886 will remain in Gdynia until Sunday. They belong to the Chinese Navy's 20th Task Force.

A soccer match and a rowing race will be held between Polish and Chinese seamen and the public will be allowed to visit the ships Saturday. The ships have also docked in Sudan, Egypt, Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

Then-communist Poland established ties with China on October 7, 1949.

Poland's Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak met with his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan in Beijing in July and said then that China was a very important partner in talks about security in Asia and in Europe. Poland is also planning to train Chinese officers next year and the two nations are developing trade ties as well.