By Constantinos Psillides
THE Chinese war frigate Yancheng is expected to dock on Friday at Limassol port, as a part of its mission to escort ships carrying chemical weapons from Syria on their way to be destroyed.
Defence Minister Fotis Fotiou met yesterday with the Chinese ambassador to Cyprus Liu Xinsheng and agreed to provide facilities for the ship.
Fotiou told the press that Cyprus fully supports the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons. “I informed the Chinese Ambassador about the government’s decision to support the operation sanctioned by the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for the removal and destruction of Syria’s Chemical Weapons. In this context, the government will provide facilities to the Chinese navy,” Fotiou said.
Fotiou clarified that Cyprus won’t allow the docking of ships carrying chemical weapons nor the transportation and destruction of chemical weapons within its territorial waters.
He accepted an invitation to visit the frigate, accompanied by the Chinese ambassador.
In accordance to a United Nations resolution and a decision by the OPCW, the weapons will be transported by ships provided by Denmark and Norway to a vessel provided by the United States for destruction at sea. Chinese, Russian and Danish ships are to escort the ships carrying the chemicals.
The Yancheng is a missile frigate tasked with providing fire support for land operations, able to attack large to medium surface ships, can provide with air defense and also equipped to battle submarines.
Its name translates to “Salt City” and it’s named after the city of Yancheng in the Jiangsu district of China. The city is known for its many salt fields.