The 43rd escort fleet of the Chinese Navy arrived in Lagos, Nigeria on the morning of July 2, starting a five-day friendly visit. The escort group includes 3 vessels – MSL Destroyer NANNING, MSL Frigate SANYA, and Supply Ship WEISHANHU, as well as a delegation of over 700 people. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) the MSL Destroyer NANNING, made a port call at Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) Berth 21 in Lagos, while the other two ships remained at anchorage.
On Sunday, July 2, when the team and vessels arrived in Nigeria, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Cui Jianchun, said that the visit would enhance maritime security within West Africa, hailing the five-day visit as a milestone in ties, and the Nigerian navy expressed willingness to work with China to tackle maritime security threats and maintain stability in the Gulf of Guinea.
Cui Jianchun, Chinese ambassador to Nigeria said that China and Nigeria would continue to work together and promote peace and harmony while also seeking ways to contribute to the international community.
“The visit is to further deepen the relationship the two countries have with one another and also to seek to strengthen and improve our relationship and cooperation with each other. This visit demonstrates the harmony and symphony between Nigeria and China.
I believe that this visit will deepen the cooperation between both countries’ military sector so that we can work together to overcome obstacles. We will continue to do more things to facilitate and promote the relationship between the two countries,” Chun continued.
The outgoing Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Adm. Joseph Akpan, said the event would further help to cement the relationship between the two countries.
“Especially between the Nigerian Navy and the Chinese Navy as well as the military. This will help us fight crimes, especially in the Gulf of Guinea. During their period of stay, our men will be interacting, we will be having some sporting activities, exchange of momentous and gifts. We will also discuss the future of both navies, especially on how we can benefit from each other,” Akpan said.
West Africa, mostly Angola and Nigeria, is among China’s top oil suppliers, and major Chinese oil explorer CNOOC Ltd also engages in deep-sea production off the coast of Nigeria.
In January, Nigeria opened a billion-dollar Chinese-built deep seaport in Lagos. The new Lekki deep sea port, one of the region’s biggest, is 75%-owned by state-owned China Harbour Engineering Co. and the Singapore-based Tolaram group. Over the last three decades, China has widened its influence in almost every African nation through investment, trade and loans.
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