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60th Birthday of the Chinese Navy
Special> 60th Birthday of the Chinese Navy
UPDATED: May 5, 2009
A Grand Armada
An international fleet celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Navy


SHIP SHOW: A naval parade of multinational ships as part of a celebration to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Navy is held in waters off China's port city of Qingdao on April 23 

April 23 was an exciting day. A total of 21 visiting naval ships from 14 countries had come to China's port city of Qingdao, eastern Shandong Province, to take part in a fleet review to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

It is the first time that the PLA Navy parade has been held on such a large scale with displays of 25 naval vessels and 31 aircraft of the Chinese Navy, including two nuclear-powered submarines.

The parade kicked off on the afternoon of April 23 amid the rhythms of March of the Review, a Chinese melody usually played on formal occasions. Chinese President Hu Jintao, also Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China, reviewed the parade from the PLA Navy destroyer Shijiazhuang.

Foreign vessels, including the United States' destroyer USS Fitzgerald and the Russian cruiser CG-011 Varyag, lined up in a row starting with combat ships, landing craft, auxiliary ships and a sailing ship for training. All the foreign ships flew their flags at full-staff. The Russian cruiser CG-011 Varyag was the first to pass the Chinese President. The ship, an 11,500-ton vessel, was commissioned in 1989 and carries 529 crew.

The Badr joined another from Pakistan, the combat support ship Nasr, to serve as the country's representatives.

More than 200 military officers from foreign embassies in China, reporters and Chinese citizens observed the review on the viewing ship Zhenghe, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The parade also featured the debut of two Chinese nuclear submarines, the Long March 6 and the Long March 3. It was the first-ever public appearance of the PLA Navy's nuclear submarines.

All the Chinese vessels and aircraft paraded were designed and made in China. They represented the most cutting-edge PLA Navy equipment, said Rear Admiral Zhang Shiying, Deputy Commander of the PLA Navy's North Sea Fleet.

"This has been the first time I have seen a Chinese nuclear submarine and many other advanced weapons in the naval review so close to me," Colonel Patrick Sice, Defense Attaché for the French Embassy in China, told Xinhua.

"China is emerging as a global power and there is nothing wrong with modernizing its navy and other armed forces. But more power means more responsibility and transparency. Without that, China will lose confidence from the other powers," said Sice.

On the morning of April 23, before the parade started, China asserted again that the country's military buildup is purely defensive. In a meeting with the heads of 29 foreign navy delegations gathered to attend the celebration, President Hu pledged that China's armed forces, including the PLA Navy, would never be a threat to other nations.

China would always be an important force in safeguarding world peace and development, he said. "For now and in the future, China will never seek hegemony, nor would it turn to military expansion or arms races with other nations."

The PLA Navy will be more open and practical in international maritime security cooperation in the future and unremittingly work toward the goal of building a harmonious ocean, according to the president.

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