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Three China Navy warships visit United Arab Emirates amid Middle East tensions.

| 2023

According to information published by the Chinese MoD on October 31, 2023, the 44th Chinese naval escort taskforce arrived in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 PLA Navy's Type 052D destroyer Zibo and Type 903 replenishment ship Qiandaohu. (Picture source: Xinhua News Agency)

Escorted by an Emirati frigate, the Chinese warships, including Zibo, Jingzhou, and Qiandaohu, made their entrance at Port Zayed around 9:00 AM. The arrival was met with a warm reception, as over 600 attendees, including UAE Navy Deputy Commander Brig. General Abdullah, various representatives of the UAE military, Chinese Ambassador to the UAE Zhang Yiming, and staff from the Chinese Embassy, gathered to welcome the taskforce.

The ceremony included an opportunity for attendees to board and tour the Chinese naval ships in groups, offering a closer look at the vessels that symbolize the growing cooperation between China and the UAE.

The visit is set to include a series of exchange activities, including reciprocal calls, deck receptions, and mutual visits, further cementing the friendly relations between the two countries' naval forces.


A cornerstone of the China-UAE naval relationship is the increasing frequency of joint exercises and port calls. These interactions serve as platforms for enhancing interoperability, sharing best practices, and showcasing naval capabilities.

Both China and the UAE have vested interests in maintaining maritime security, particularly in critical waterways like the Strait of Hormuz and the South China Sea. Collaborative efforts in anti-piracy operations, maritime surveillance, and information sharing have been key components of their partnership, aimed at ensuring safe and secure sea lanes.

The deepening naval links between China and the UAE occur against a backdrop of complex regional geopolitics. Balancing these relationships, particularly with traditional Western allies, poses a strategic challenge for the UAE. For China, expanding its naval presence in the Middle East opens new avenues for influence.

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