18 Dec 2012

Navy ships from China in Sydney

12:01 pm on 18 December 2012

Three navy ships from China arrived in Sydney on Tuesday for four days for a brief stop-over en route to China.

The Yi Yang, Chang Zhou and Qian Dao Hu began arriving at 8.30am (AEDT).

AAP reports they are returning from a mission to combat pirates in the Gulf of Aden between Yemen and the Horn of Africa.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith said China has a central role to play in maintaining regional security and both navies will share lessons learnt about anti-piracy operations during the four-day visit.

The ABC reports the stop-over is one of a number of events planned this year to mark 40 years since the beginning of diplomatic relations between Australia and China.

In May, HMAS Ballarat visited Shanghai to carry out an exercise with a Chinese navy frigate at the mouth of the Yangtze River.

The Australian, Chinese and New Zealand navies held a training exercise in October.