Chinese military hospital vessel Ark Peace arrives in Tonga.

Over 2,000 locals are expected to receive free medical service by the medical team on board the Chinese military hospital vessel Ark Peace.

Medical services started after lunch today on board the vessel, berthed at Vuna Wharf here in the capital.

Medical teams were also dispatched to the Vaiola Hospital.

The vessel will be in the Kingdom for one week and patients on ‘Eua Island will also receive the free assistance next week when a team will fly to the island on board the vessel’s medical helicopter.

Acting Prime Minister Hon Samiu Vaipulu said Tonga was grateful to the Chinese Embassy here and the Chinese government for bringing the vessel and the medical service to Tonga.

“This is a great assistance and our people will benefit from this straight away,” Hon Vaipulu said.

“It is indeed a great assistance and one that we appreciate very much.”

Chinese Ambassador Mr Huang Huaguang said the visit was part of the China-Tonga relationship.

“We are happy to have the team here and we hope that a lot of Tongans will benefit,” he said.

Health Director Dr Siale Akauola and his team from Vaiola Hospital, along with World Health Organisation representative in Tonga, Dr Li Dan, met with the vessel’s medical team this morning.

The Peace Ark is a floating hospital that has served in a number of countries and continents around the world.

She arrived in Nuku’alofa at around 10am this morning.

On its current trip the vessel will also visit Vanuatu and Fiji.

Their Majesties King Tupo VI and Queen Nanasipau’u will visit the vessel on Tuesday.

The vessel is expected to depart Nuku’alofa next Wednesday morning.

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