World

Chinese navy warships arrive in Cuba, 1st Asian flotilla to visit island

A man wearing a shirt with a Cuban flag looks at the recently arrived Chinese Navy ships while a Chinese sailor walks next him, in the port of Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015. The People's Liberation Army Navy is the naval warfare branch of the People's Liberation Army, the national armed forces of the People's Republic of China. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

A man wearing a shirt with a Cuban flag looks at the recently arrived Chinese Navy ships while a Chinese sailor walks next him, in the port of Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015. The People's Liberation Army Navy is the naval warfare branch of the People's Liberation Army, the national armed forces of the People's Republic of China. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Three Chinese naval ships have arrived in Cuba to mark the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Communist Party-ruled countries.

The visit comes as Cuba and the United States work to normalize relations after more than 50 years of official hostility.

The commander of the Chinese fleet, Wang Jianxun, said it is the first time a military flotilla from the Asian country has come to Cuba.

Cuban officials, sailors and Chinese students studying on the island greeted the arriving ships Tuesday. Some young Cubans dressed up as red and gold dragons.

China is a key ally of Cuba, and its No. 2 trade partner after Venezuela. The visit comes amid high tensions between Washington and Beijing in the South China Sea.

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