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Naval training ship going round the globe
2012/04/20

A training vessel of the Chinese People's Liberation Army navy embarked on a round-the-world voyage on Monday from Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning province.

This is the first single-ship circumnavigation conducted by a Chinese training vessel.

According to the commander, Liao Shining, deputy chief of staff of the PLA navy, the vessel Zhenghe has 308 military personnel aboard, including 110 cadets from Dalian Naval Academy.

Over the next five months, they will journey more than 30,000 nautical miles (55,560 km) and visit 11 countries, including Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Italy, Spain and Canada.

Military cadets from 13 other countries will be invited aboard the vessel for part of the voyage to live and train with their Chinese counterparts, Liao said.

Wu Shengli, commander of the PLA navy, encouraged the officers, cadets, and sailors to carry out their "harmonious mission".

"You are entrusted with the mission of promoting friendship between China and other countries and their navies," Wu said to the crew before the vessel set sail.

Wu said this is an innovative mission to improve the training of naval cadets.

The vessel, named after the great Chinese navigator Zheng He (1371-1433), is the PLA navy's first domestically designed and built oceangoing training ship.

Since it was commissioned in 1987, the Zhenghe has visited more than 30 countries, and sailed 280,000 nautical miles.

This is the PLA navy's second round-the-world voyage. The first was undertaken by the guided missile destroyer Qingdao and supply ship Taicang in 2002. Those vessels visited 10 countries in 132 days.

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