East Timor ex-president hails visit of Chinese naval task force

Former president of East Timor, Xanana Gusmão, praised the recent visit to the country by a task force of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

After touring vessels of task force 152 – which consisted of a destroyer, a frigate and a supply ship – at the port in Dili, capital of East Timor, on Sunday, he said the visit “displays friendship and peace”.

“It is a great pleasure to welcome China’s naval ships in East Timor,” the former president said. “I believe that China’s navy sailing around the world is not to show force but to strengthen the friendship between countries and people,” he added.

The PLA Navy task force started a five-day official visit to the archipelago on Saturday. It is the first time the Chinese navy has visited East Timor since the archipelago became a sovereign state in 2002, Xinhua reported.