PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII — China gave Western journalists a rare look aboard two People’s Liberation Army vessels Saturday during the Rim of the Pacific naval exercises in Hawaii, showcasing a hospital ship with complex medical facilities and a destroyer flying U.S. and Chinese flags.
China is participating for the first time in the exercises, despite tensions with the United States and other countries — including territorial disputes with U.S. allies like Japan and the Philippines.
Chinese naval nurse He Yun showed reporters around the hospital ship Ark Peace, with a trauma center, dental office and facility where acupuncture and other treatments can be performed. Examination rooms were spread over several floors.
The destroyer Haikou featured multiple hatches on its deck, a large cannon and a helicopter. Inside, where no photographs were allowed, glossy pictures of sailors’ family and children lined the walls.
About a dozen other countries, including Japan, New Zealand, the United States and Colombia also offered ship tours as part of the 22-nation drills.
A Japanese naval official on Saturday gave a Chinese counterpart a private tour of its Japan Maritime Self Defense ship, the JS Ise. The Ise was docked at Pearl Harbor directly across the water from the USS Arizona Memorial, the ship that still rests at the bottom of a lagoon after the 1941 attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor.