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The Chinese Navy Docks in Maputo in a Renewed Diplomatic Push

The Chinese Navy Docks in Maputo in a Renewed Diplomatic Push

Goodwill missions curtailed by Covid restarted last year and have expanded to West Africa with this latest tour.

China continues the renewal of its maritime diplomacy in Africa with a five-day goodwill visit to Mozambique that began earlier this week.

The 45th naval escort task force of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has anchored in the capital city of Maputo, Mozambique’s largest port. More than 200 people, including Mozambican military representatives, Chinese embassy staff and members of the Chinese community in Mozambique, gathered to greet the three ships, comprising a destroyer, frigate and replenishment vessel.

The low-key visit is part of a broader diplomatic initiative to strengthen ties and build influence in the region.  The Chinese Navy also uses such missions for military exercises, citizen evacuations and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The PLA Navy missions, which began in 2008, have grown over the years, increasing in length, sophistication and objectives. The main mission consists of anti-piracy patrols, particularly in the Gulf of Aden, where the 45th naval fleet was operating before travelling south to Tanzania then Mozambique.

Covid put such maritime missions on hold in 2020, with the exception of routine calls to Djibouti in connection with an anti-piracy patrol. 

The PLA Navy renewed its broader mission in Africa in February 2022, with a joint exercise with Russia and South Africa off the latter’s coast. A tour of West Africa followed in July 2023 and now East Africa, likely with a few more ports after Mozambique.

Macao News


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