Dance to welcome the Chinese naval hospital ship Peace Ark in Nukualofa, Tonga, Aug. 13, 2018. (Photo: VCG)
The hospital ship Peace Ark of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) arrived at Port Nukualofa, Tonga, on Monday, starting an eight-day good-will visit and humanitarian medical service. The Peace Ark paid her first visit to Tonga on the same date four years ago.
Around 10 a.m. local time, under the escort of Tongan navy patrol boat P203, the Chinese vessel arrived at Vuna Wharf of Port Nukualofa. At the welcoming ceremony, the Tongan royal military band played the national anthems of both countries, while the locals presented garlands to the commanders of the Peace Ark Hospital Ship.
Tonga’s Acting Prime Minister Semisi Sika delivered a key message to mark the occasion.
“Four years ago, this very vessel entered our shore offering free medical services to all. This morning, we again welcome the navy hospital ship with the same attention of promoting military exchanges, and offering similar advance medical services to the Tonga people,” said Sika.
“We are much appreciative of the services you are to offer, and I am confident that the Tonga people will value your medical assistance for the benefit of people and their health,” he added, and pledged to strengthen people-to-people exchanges between China and Tonga.
In the afternoon of the arrival, the hospital ship provided medical consultation and treatment services for local people, and offered free physical examinations, using the advanced equipment on board.
Tonga is the fourth stop of the Peace Ark’s ongoing 11-nation trip, the Mission Harmony – 2018, which has already taken it to Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and Fiji.
The hospital ship Peace Ark serves the PLAN’s East Sea Fleet. It’s responsible for treating and evacuating casualties during wartime, and during peacetime, and offers free medical services to civilians both in China and abroad.