Two Chinese frigates have docked in Yangon and will stay for five days in a show of diplomatic cooperation between the two nations, says the Chinese embassy in Yangon.

The two ships, the FFG Xiangtan and the FFG Zhoushan, arrived in Thilawa’s deep-sea port on September 30 and were welcomed by Chinese Ambassador Hong Liang, the chief of Myanmar’s naval dockyard headquarters, Admiral Myint Oo, and other naval officials.

In May 2014, a Chinese training flotilla visited the port, which has hosted many of Myanmar’s allies in its history. This latest visit, which aims to strengthen strategic communication, is regarded as a significant exchange between the two navies.

According to the Chinese embassy in Yangon, the fleet’s commanding officers are due to meet with Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein and Tatmadaw leaders while the ships’ crews will carry out exchanges and interactions, such as tours and football games, with their Myanmar counterparts.

The Zhoushan and Xiangtan are returning from a four-month mission to the Middle East, where they escorted Chinese and other ships transporting humanitarian aid to areas threatened by Somali rebels.

“The ships come to improve the two countries’ relationships. Our two militaries are friends and partners. We are close brothers,” said Mr Hong, the Chinese ambassador.

The Chinese embassy also released a statement on September 30 that the Chinese navy’s visit is a demonstration of friendship, peace, exchange and communication, and will enhance mutual understanding between the two countries and their militaries.

“The [Chinese People’s Liberation Army] PLA Navy is earnestly carrying out practical cooperation with other navies, including Myanmar’s, to contribute to a harmonious world and a harmonious ocean,” said the statement.