Chinese warships to visit Davao Sunday

MANILA, Philippines – Three Chinese naval vessels will arrive at Sasa Wharf, Davao City on Sunday, April 30, for a 3-day goodwill visit.

The Philippine Navy said on Thursday, April 27, that a welcome ceremony and a port briefing will be conducted upon arrival of the Chinese vessels.

The visiting Chinese naval vessels include a guided missile destroyer, a guided missile frigate, and a replenishment ship, according to Naval Forces Eastern Commander Captain Ramil Roberto Enriquez.

The fleet is headed by Rear Admiral Shen Hao, Deputy Commander of the East China Sea of the People's Liberation Army Navy.

There will also be games and a shipboard tour for invited guests.

The goodwill visit comes a week after the visit of Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Eduardo Año to the disputed Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) on April 21.

Beijing had expressed grave concern and dissatisfaction with the Philippine officials' trip. (READ: PH plans for Pag-asa to test Duterte's friendship with China)

The Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs had maintained that the visit is a "lawful activity under international law."

The Chinese ship visit also comes after the US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson and other warships started joint exercises with Japan in the Philippine Sea on April 23, as regional tensions rise over North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.

The joint drill between US and Japan is designed "to work together in a maritime environment in order to quickly respond to threats in the region."– Rappler.com