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Wednesday, 3 October, 2001, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
Royal Navy's 'wrong flag' greeting
HMS Ark Royal  with the two flags
Sailors on board the Ark Royal raised the wrong flag
The Royal Navy accidentally greeted a Chinese admiral with the flag of Taiwan, the Ministry of Defence has admitted.

Sailors on board HMS Ark Royal had intended to welcome Rear Admiral Wu Fuchun on board with the Chinese red ensign.

The commander of China's East Coast Fleet was leading a goodwill visit to Portsmouth but was greeted with the Taiwanese red flag, which is emblazoned with a white sun on a blue background.


The incident has not affected the goodwill and good relationships generated by the visit and nobody will face disciplinary action over the matter

MoD spokeswoman
The error on board the Navy's flagship was soon noticed by British personnel and the flag was immediately hoisted down, an MoD spokeswoman said.

Taiwan broke away from Chinese control more than 50 years ago.

The commanding officer of HMS Ark Royal has written a letter of apology to Admiral Wu Fuchun, which has been accepted.

The MoD spokeswoman said: "We believe that the Chinese have accepted that this was simply an administrative error.

"The incident has not affected the goodwill and good relationships generated by the visit and nobody will face disciplinary action over the matter."

See also:

13 Jul 01 | Scotland
Ark Royal sets sail after refit
11 Jul 01 | Business
Union showdown with shipyard bosses
03 Oct 01 | Scotland
New start for revamped navy ship
06 Jun 01 | Scotland
Rosyth clinches carrier contract
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