Chinese naval task force visiting Mozambique

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Fresh after a stop in Tanzania, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN’s) 45th naval escort task force is now visiting Mozambique.

On the morning of 1 April the task force arrived in Maputo and began a five-day goodwill visit, the PLAN reported. The flotilla comprises the Type 052D destroyer Urumqi, the Type 054A frigate Linyi, and the Type 903A replenishment ship Dongpinghu.

More than 200 people, including representatives of the Mozambican military, staff of the Chinese Embassy in Mozambique, representatives of Chinese-funded enterprises and overseas Chinese, greeted the vessels as they arrived in port.

“It is understood that during the visit to Mozambique, the 45th escort fleet will hold a deck reception and other related exchange activities,” the PLAN reported.

The 45th escort task force had just visited Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, between 23 and 27 March. During the visit, the task force commander paid a courtesy visit to Major General Mwasaika, Commander of the Tanzania Navy. Representatives of the formation’s officers and soldiers visited the Dar es Salaam Station of the TAZARA Railway and paid their respects at the cemetery of Chinese experts who assisted Tanzania.

The PLAN’s 46th escort task force is currently on duty in the Gulf of Aden area after departing from China on 21 February and arriving on station at the beginning of March. The new task force includes the Type 052D guided missile destroyer Jiaozuo, the Type 054A missile frigate Xuchang, and the Type 903A replenishment vessel Honghu, with over 700 crew members including dozens of special forces personnel and two helicopters onboard.

Zhang Junshe, a Chinese military expert, told the Global Times that the PLA Navy’s escort missions are not related to the current situation in the region with Houthi attacks on shipping or ‘so-called major power competition’.

By the end of 2023, the PLA Navy had escorted more than 7 200 vessels in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia in more than 1 600 missions, with more than 50% of escorted ships being foreign vessels, China Central Television reported in December 2023.