LIMA, Peru (AP) -- A Chinese naval hospital ship is making a first-ever call at a South American port in a sign of the Asian economic giant's growing influence in the area.
The Peace Ark landed Monday at a port outside Peru's capital of Lima for a seven-day medical service visit. It's the last destination on a three-month mission that also included stops in Australia, Mexico and the U.S.
Such goodwill visits have been a mainstay of U.S. diplomacy in Latin America for decades, and indeed the USS Comfort visited 11 nations during a regional tour earlier this year. Such Chinese outreach is more recent but has gained momentum as its demand for the region's resources has soared.
The Peace Ark is expected to perform 2,000 free procedures during its stay in Peru.