Japanese destroyer heads to Chinese port for historic landing

June 19th, 2008 - 4:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, June 19 (DPA) A Japanese military ship set sail from Japan Thursday to make a historic port call in China, as part of a bilateral defence exchange. A Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force destroyer Sazanami headed out to a southern port in China’s Zhanjiang of Guangdong province in the south next Tuesday for a five-day stay.

The 4,650-tonne destroyer’s landing comes after the Chinese naval destroyer Shenzhen made a landmark visit to Japan last November, the first such visit since the a communist government came to power in China in 1949.

The Japanese ship would deliver some 300 blankets and 2,600 emergency food items to victims of the May 12 earthquake in China’s Sichuan province, the first delivery of relief materials by Japanese self-defence forces.

Initially, the Japanese government refrained from sending a navy vessel to the devastated regions so as not to remind Chinese people of Japan’s wartime atrocities.

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