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Chinese warships at Sydney’s Harbor for 4-day stopover

Three Chinese warships have pulled into Australia’s Sydney Harbor for a four-day stopover.

The docked warships include People’s Liberation Army supply vessel, a frigate and an amphibious vessel. The ships docked at the Garden Island naval base on Monday morning.

Although the visit was not publicly announced, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said plans for the stopover had been in place for “some time.”

“It may have been a surprise to others but it certainly wasn’t a surprise to the government,” Morrison told reporters in the Solomon Islands.

“Australian naval vessels have visited China. This was a program of a reciprocal visit. That is a further demonstration of the relationship that we have.”

The vessels — which have about 700 sailors on board — were previously involved in anti-piracy operations off the African coast, 7 News reported.

Chinese warships have sailed in Sydney Harbor before, including in 2013 and in 2010.

The media is often invited in for an official welcome. But this time no cameras were allowed inside.

Australia’s Department of Defence did not reply to CNN’s request for comment.

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