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Chinese navy ships arrive in Pearl Harbor for RIMPAC

By William Cole

LAST UPDATED: 12:53 p.m. HST, Jun 24, 2014

Two Chinese navy ships arrived Tuesday morning at Pearl Harbor and two more are set to arrive for the People's Republic's first-ever participation in Rim of the Pacific maritime exercises off Hawaii.

The missile destroyer Haikou, flying a Chinese and American flag, pulled in at Kilo pier just before 9 a.m., while the hospital ship Peace Ark tied up at 9:45 a.m.

The missile frigate Yueyang and supply ship Qiandaohu were expected in after the first two arrivals.

Xinhua, China's state-run press, reported that the ship sailors, two helicopters, a commando unit and a diving squad totaling 1,100 officers and soldiers will be in Hawaii for RIMPAC, the world's largest international maritime exercise.

The Peace Ark, Qiandaohu and Yueyang are expected to be docked three abreast at Kilo pier across from the USS Arizona Memorial, while the Haikou is on the opposite side of Kilo pier. 

RIMPAC gives China a chance to develop skills in large-unit exercises, and the United States an opportunity to further engagement with and develop a better understanding of the growing Asian power.

This year's RIMPAC exercise, the 24th in a series that began in 1971, is scheduled from Thursday to Aug. 1.

Twenty-three nations, 49 surface ships, 6 submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate.

Ships from Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei also are in Pearl Harbor for the big war-gaming and interoperability exercise. The bulk of the ships are expected to pull in on Wednesday.

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is expected to arrive Thursday.

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