HONOLULU, June 26 (UPI) -- Ships of the Chinese Navy arrive in Hawaii's Pearl Harbor to participate, for the first time, in a biennial international naval exercise.
The Chinese fleet, which included a destroyer, frigate, supply ship, hospital ship and two ship-born helicopters, joined ships from 23 other countries in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises Wednesday. About 1,100 members of the Chinese military were aboard the ships.
After two weeks of visiting each other's warships and games of basketball and football, the three-week schedule of maritime drills will begin July 9. The Chinese vessels will be involved in weapons firing, disaster and anti-piracy operations, and coordinated interceptions and landings, said Zhao Xiaogang, Chinese fleet drill instructor.
Chinese military personnel have attended RIMPAC exercises in the past, but only as observers. The drills, which began in 1971, are regarded as the largest multinational maritime military exercise worldwide.
It marks the first time China will participate in a large-scale naval drill led by the United States.