Peace Ark arrives in Tonga for goodwill visit, to provide medical service

Li Jiayao

SUVA, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese naval hospital ship Peace Ark  arrived in the Tongan capital of Nukualofa on Monday for an eight-day goodwill visit and humanitarian medical service.

Escorted by a Tongan navy patrol boat, Peace Ark, which is on Mission Harmony - 2018, arrived at Vuna Wharf of Port Nukualofa.

At a grand welcome ceremony attended by Tonga's Acting Prime Minister Semisi Sika, Chinese Ambassador Wang Baodong, local citizens as well as overseas Chinese and representatives of the Chinese enterprises, the Tongan royal military band played the national anthems of both China and Tonga, the local people presented garlands to the commanders of the Chinese mission and the young Tongans performed local dance.

Semisi Sika warmly welcomed Peace Ark's second visit to Tonga on behalf of the Tongan government and conveyed his heartfelt appreciations for the support and assistance rendered by the Chinese government and its people.

For his part, Wang said that on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Tonga, Peace Ark's visit to Tonga is of paramount importance, which will help enhancing the mutual benefit and cooperation between two countries in terms of health and military and strengthen the friendship between the two peoples.

The commander of Mission Harmony - 2018 also said  Peace Ark will help more people as always with sincere love, medical skills and services and fulfill the consensus reached by top leaders in Beijing in March with concrete action, so that their strategic partnership can further develop and the two peoples can benefit from the bilateral cooperation and exchanges.

The VIPs from the Tongan side were invited to tour the Chinese ship onboard.

Tonga is the fourth stop of Peace Ark's current mission, which had visited Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Fiji. The ship paid her first visit to the South Pacific island nation in 2014.

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