The USS Sterett (DDG-104), an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, made a scheduled port visit to Zhanjiang, China on Monday, the first U.S. naval visit to mainland China of the year, the Navy said.
This is the first visit by a U.S. Navy ship to Zhanjiang since 2015. During the visit, sailors will conduct sporting events, ship tours, a community relations event, and leadership calls and receptions with the People’s Liberation Army Navy PLA(N).
“This visit is an exciting opportunity to promote maritime cooperation and reinforce a navy-to-navy relationship with our People’s Liberation Army Navy PLA(N) counterparts,” Cmdr. Claudine Caluori, Sterett’s commanding officer, said in a statement.
The Sterett is part of the Sterett-Dewey Surface Action Group (SAG), within the Third Fleet. It arrived with the embarked command staff of Destroyer Squadron (DESROB) 31 and a helicopter detachment from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49.
Capt. David Bretz, DESROB 31’s commodore, agreed on the importance of engagement. “Professional engagement with regional navies allows us the opportunity to build upon our existing relationships, as well as learn from each other.”
The Sterett-Dewey SAG is operating with regional naval services in the Western Pacific to conduct routine patrols, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation activities to enhance regional security and stability.