PIRAEUS, Greece, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Two Chinese naval escort warships arrived in Greece's Piraeus Port on Monday, kicking off a five-day visit.
The vessels, destroyer Guangzhou and frigate Chaohu, are part of the fifth Chinese naval escort flotilla, which just completed the escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters to protect commercial ships from pirate attacks.
Chinese Ambassador to Greece Luo Linquan and some 200 Chinese nationals came to the port to welcome the arrival of the two Chinese warships. Waving Chinese and Greek national flags, the enthusiastic Chinese living in Greece greeted the Chinese sailors with cheers.
They were excited when allowed to tour one of the ships.
"We are so excited to have a chance to board a Chinese naval destroyer," Wu Hailong, a Chinese businessman in Athens, said, adding that he and his friends come to Piraeus early in the morning from central Athens to welcome the Chinese navy soldiers.
Zhang Buren, a Chinese national from Taiwan who has lived in Athens for more than three decades, said he was very impressed by the elegant demeanor of Chinese navy soldiers. "I feel very much proud as a Chinese and so happy to see China is developing fast."
At a welcoming ceremony held at the port, the Chinese ambassador said the Chinese navy has made its effort in fighting piracy. "The Chinese naval escort flotilla has successfully escorted some 20 Greek commercial vessels in the waters near Somalia in the past few years," he said. Greece is one of the countries with biggest commercial fleets.
The Chinese envoy added that the Greek government and Greek Navy attach great importance to the visit by the Chinese naval fleet. "The Greek shipowners will come to visit the Chinese naval fleet and express their gratitude to the help from the Chinese navy," he said.
During the five-day visit, the Chinese naval officers and soldiers will visit a Greek navy base as well as the Acropolis and other archeological sites in Athens.
China's fifth naval escort flotilla with more than 800 officers and soldiers has successfully escorted 588 Chinese and foreign vessels in 41 batches since it arrived in the pirate-infested waters in early March this year.