China

China’s navy hospital ship Daishan in Trinidad

In a sign of how impressive China’s geopolitical abilities are, it was a nice surprise to learn that a Chinese naval hospital ship, the Peace Ark, arrived in Trinidad last week and is currently docked there until the 15th. In a sign of how random this world could be, the hospital ship’s official name is the Daishandao, named after the island where my grandmother is from, presumable because it is based there (please see my earlier post about Daishan if you want to know what the heck Daishan is). The ship looks impressive, being a 14,000 ton fully equipped floating hospital with 300 beds, 20 ICUs, and a helicopter that can serve in both wartime and peacetime, the latter as both a disaster relief and goodwill ambassador. The Peace Ark/Daishandao is on a tour of Central America and the Caribbean and made stops in Cuba and Jamaica before coming to Trinidad. The ship was warmly received in Trinidad and its crew has hopefully done a good job treating people in Trinidad. It’s interesting to note how China’s recent launch of its aircraft carrier attracted so much attention, criticism and paranoia, but something like having a full hospital ship which is quite impressive, attracts very little attention.

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