China kicks off biennial naval meeting amid mounting tensions at SCS



ANKARA –The Chinese navy on Sunday kicked off a biennial naval symposium in the port city of Qingdao, which will be attended, among others, by US Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Stephen Koehler, state media reported.

Koehler will lead a US delegation to the 19th biennial meeting of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) hosted by the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) navy, to meet “Chinese counterparts in Qingdao city of east China's Shandong province, South China Morning Post reported.

His visit to arch-rival China coincides with mounting tensions in the South China Sea involving several nations.

Over 180 navy representatives from 29 countries are participating in the four-day event themed "Seas of Shared Future," which coincides with commemorations for the PLA Navy’s 75th anniversary

As a founding member of the WPNS, China has been committed to the principles of inclusiveness, equality and cooperation in its engagement with the affairs of the forum, said Qu Tao, a PLA Navy spokesperson.

China last hosted the WPNS meeting in 2014.

"The Chinese navy is willing to work together with its counterparts to promote global and regional
marine governance, tackle maritime safety risks and challenges, and advance building a marine community with a shared future," Qu said. (Anadolu)