CHINESE military bosses are keen to return to Portsmouth to link up once again with the Royal Navy.
Councillor Donna Jones revealed the news after a meeting with Chinese diplomats in London.
China is one of the biggest exporting countries and they’re very keen on coming to PortsmouthDonna Jones, Portsmouth City Council leader
While speaking to officials at the Chinese Embassy, the city council boss was told how China had hopes of bringing a fleet of warships back to the city.
The last time the Chinese navy visited Portsmouth was in 2015, when three of the nation’s ships docked in the city for a week.
And, Cllr Jones added it was not just the Chinese military which is keen to come to the city – bankers and investors also have Portsmouth in their sights.
The Tory council boss told The News there was renewed vigour in plans for Chinese investors to pump millions into the city’s economy.
It comes just weeks after wealthy Hong Kong investment firm Fosun Group held talks with Portsmouth City Council about investing huge sums of cash into the city – a move that could be the catalyst for major regeneration.
Cllr Jones said the Chinese investors wanted use the city’s growing international profile as part of a plan to construct a major EU distribution centre in Portsmouth.
‘China is one of the biggest exporting countries and they’re very keen on coming to Portsmouth,’ she said.
‘They’re always looking for places to help and assist in their export market.
‘Portsmouth could be the perfect European base for Chinese export trade.’
She added that since the Chinese navy’s visit, Portsmouth had become a household name with many families in China.
‘It was a roaring success for the city and the Royal Navy,’ she added.
‘The visit by the Chinese navy was a big deal. Millions of Chinese people have now heard of Portsmouth.
‘The fact that China is picking Portsmouth as a place to visit and consider trading with is a huge honour.
‘The links between the Chinese navy and the Royal Navy are going from strength to strength.’
Hundreds of people flocked to see the small Chinese fleet when it sailed into Portsmouth.
Many UK-based Chinese nationals flocked to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to see the vessels and have a tour on board assault ship Chang Bai Shan.
The trip also gave the chance for officers from China and the Royal Navy to unite and discuss maritime security issues, including counter-piracy operation in the Indian Ocean.