Chinese naval fleet arrives in Nigeria for rare visit: Official

Chinese naval fleet arrives in Nigeria for rare visit: Official

‘The visit is for peace. It is time for China to work together with Nigeria,’ says Chinese ambassador

By Olanrewaju Kola

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) - A Chinese naval fleet led by a destroyer has docked in Nigeria in a rare five-day visit, an official said Monday.

China’s ambassador to Nigeria, Cui Jianchun, said the arrival of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) warships on Sunday is “a major event in the relations” between the two countries.

"This visit really demonstrate harmony between Nigeria and China. The visit is for peace. It is time for China to work together with Nigeria. We are excited about this," Cui told three Chinese naval officers Monday during their visit to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.

He promised that Beijing will continue to cooperate with Nigeria, Africa's largest economy, to boost trade ties and other partnerships.

The Nigerian navy also commended the naval visit.

The destroyer Nanning and an accompanying frigate, Sanya, along with a supply ship, Weishanhu, arrived in Lagos on Sunday, said a statement earlier by the Chinese embassy.

The embassy described the visit as a rare effort and milestone in China's ties with Nigeria.

It also expressed the willingness of the Chinese navy to collaborate with its Nigerian counterpart in tackling maritime security threats and maintaining stability in the Gulf of Guinea.

China has made significant efforts to grow its economic and diplomatic influence in Africa's coastal areas.

Nigeria opened a billion-dollar Chinese-built deep seaport in Lagos in January which is 75% owned by China Harbour Engineering Co. and the Singapore-based Tolaram group.

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