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Three Chinese warships with 700 sailors on board will spend the next four days docked in Sydney Harbour on an unannounced visit.
Sydneysiders have reacted with surprise to the sudden appearance of a People's Liberation Army frigate, an auxiliary replenishment ship, and an amphibious vessel docked at Garden Island.
Warships - Royal - Australian - Navy - Base
The warships, which have docked at the Royal Australian Navy base in Potts Point, were approved to visit by the federal government last week.
Speaking to reporters in the Solomon Islands on his first post-election trip to the Pacific, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the stopover had been in place for 'some time'.
Ships - Trafficking - Operation - Middle - East
The ships were returning from a counter-drug trafficking operation in the Middle East, according to Mr Morrison.
'It may have been a surprise to others but it certainly wasn't a surprise to the government,' he told reporters.
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