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Central News Agency

2005-06-19 15:23:25

    Taipei, June 19 (CNA) A Republic of China Navy flotilla, which embarked in March on its first round-the-world voyage in a display of long-range sea power, returned to Taiwan Sunday, Navy sources reported.

    Navy Commander-in-Chief Chen Pang-chih officiated at a ceremony held at the Tsuoying naval base in southern Taiwan to mark the success of the flotilla's mission and of the commencement of round-the-world navigation training.

    The flotilla -- comprised of the French-built Lafayette-class frigate "Kang Ding," the U.S.-built Perry-class frigate "Wu Yi" and a logistical support vessel, with a 700-strong crew -- returned early Sunday morning to the Tsuoying base after having sailed over 55,500 kilometers in 105 days around the globe.

    The naval vessels made port calls in seven countries which maintain formal diplomatic relations with the ROC and made refueling stops in several countries in the Indian Ocean that recognize China.

    The flotilla's voyage, dubbed Taiwan's "warship diplomacy, " took it through Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean, around South Africa into the Atlantic Ocean, and then through the Caribbean and the Panama Canal, and across the Pacific Ocean. The flotilla set a ROC Navy record in terms of distance traveled. The Navy began long-distance voyage training in 1953, according to naval officers at Tsuoying.

    Adm. Fan Pao-hua, who led the flotilla, said that the voyage was smooth and successful, with morale among the crew being very high.

(By Deborah Kuo)


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