PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has extended the nation’s thanks to the Chinese navy ship Ark Peace for its recent support at local hospitals.

The Prime Minister made the comments to Rear Admiral Shen Hao during a tour of the vessel shortly before it set sail from Port Moresby in September.

“Our people thank you for the extension of healthcare that you offered to Papua New Guineans during the visit and for providing support at our hospitals,” Mr O’Neill said.

“This visit has been an exchange of medical support, friendship and culture. I hope you come back soon and once again enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Islands.

“I thank you for your visit and wish you a safe journey home.”

When receiving Mr O’Neill on the ship the Rear Admiral highlighted the maritime links between PNG and China and expressed his satisfaction with the visit.

“The friendship and sentiments between our two countries are boundless and it is the blue ocean that binds the countries together,” Rear Admiral Shen Hao said.

“I enjoyed a cultural exchange visit to the town of Rigo where I was very impressed with the children of the school who were very welcoming.

“I will remember the natural beauty of Papua New Guinea and the hospitality of the people.”

The Rear Admiral said he hoped the presence of the ship enhanced friendship between the nations.