In a sign of growing co-operation between the armed forces of both countries, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) revealed that it has deployed two medical officers on board the Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN’s) Type 920 Anwei-class hospital ship Daishandao (T-AH 866#, more widely known as Peace Ark , since 31 August.
An Australian Department of Defence #DoD) spokesperson confirmed on 9 September that this is the first time Australian military personnel are being stationed on board the ship. Peace Ark is currently in the South Pacific on a medical assistance mission to Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. The ADF’s deployment is scheduled to end on 11 September.
According to a DoD release, the deployment is being done in response to an invitation from General Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, during a visit to Australia in July.
“Working together with the PLA during Peace Ark ‘s South Pacific medical assistance mission demonstrates how defence co-operation between Australia and China can contribute to regional security and be of real practical assistance to regional partners,” the DoD statement said.
Peace Ark was one of four ships representing the PLAN at ‘Rim of the Pacific’ (‘RIMPAC’) multi-national naval exercises in and around the waters of Hawaii between 26 June and 1 August 2014.