PLA Navy hospital ship sets out for Indonesia visit
Published: Nov 02, 2022 01:02 AM
The photo taken on July 13, 2019 shows the hospital ship Peace Ark. Photo: VCG

The photo taken on July 13, 2019 shows the hospital ship Peace Ark. Photo: VCG

The hospital ship Peace Ark of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy will set out on Wednesday for a friendly visit to Indonesia to provide medical services to the locals there, marking the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that the PLA Navy has sent a vessel for such a foreign visit.

After an invitation from the Indonesian military, the PLA Navy's hospital ship the Peace Ark will set out from Zhoushan, East China's Zhejiang Province toward Indonesia for a friendly visit, Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, a spokesperson at China's Ministry of National Defense, announced on Tuesday.

During the visit, the Chinese hospital ship will make diagnoses and give treatment for common diseases to local residents and overseas Chinese. It will provide medical services including surgical operations and hospitalization when needed, Tan said.

Tan said that the mission will further deepen the friendship between the two countries, the two countries' armed forces and the people of the two countries.

China and Indonesia have a friendship with a long history, the two countries have close economic cooperation, and the two countries' militaries have had frequent interactions in recent years, observers said. The 2022 G20 Bali summit is also scheduled from November 15 to 16 in Indonesia.

Captain Liu Wensheng, a spokesperson for the PLA Navy, said on Tuesday that the Peace Ark will embark on the Mission Harmony-2022 and provide medical services during its visit to Indonesia. This will be the 10th overseas mission for the hospital ship.

It is practical for people from all countries to get to know each other and to jointly deal with global challenges, and it will contribute to the development of friendly relations between China and Indonesia as well as the two countries' militaries, Liu said.

The mission will also enhance the PLA Navy's medical support capabilities in far seas, Liu said.

Since the Peace Ark's commissioning into the PLA Navy in December 2008, it has actively practiced the concepts of building a community with a shared future for mankind as well as a maritime community with a shared future, Liu said. In the vessel's previous nine overseas visits, it sailed for more than 240,000 nautical miles and provided services to more than 230,000 people in 43 countries and regions.

The Peace Ark's medical support mission to Indonesia shows that the PLA Navy is providing help to other countries, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The ship is a large and comprehensive maritime mobile hospital that can host a large professional medical staff capable of carrying out surgical operations, and once it reaches Indonesia, it can provide treatment for diseases the locals are facing, Wei said.