Three Chinese naval vessels have arrived in Qatar for a five-day visit as part of a Gulf tour.
The fleet, which docked on Saturday, includes guided-missile destroyer warship Harbin, missile frigate Handan and supply ship Dongpinghu, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
In Doha, it was received warmly by Qatar’s navy, several Chinese expats living in Doha and the Chinese Ambassador to the Gulf state.
CCTV reported Bai Yaoping, commander of the 24th escort fleet, as saying:
“During the visit, naval officers from the two countries will exchange views to enhance friendship and further learn from each other.”
Deeper defense relationship
China has previously expressed interest in stepping up arms sales to Qatar and other Gulf countries.
In 2014, the head of a Chinese missile manufacturer told Doha News, “The Middle East is a very important market, (and) we pay special attention to the GCC.”
CCTV reported that the ships traveled to Qatar after a five-day stop in Saudi Arabia.
The fleet will head to the UAE and Kuwait next.