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China's nuclear subs to join 'peaceful ocean' celebration

THE Chinese People's Liberation Army kicked off a grand maritime ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of its navy yesterday evening off the coast of the eastern city of Qingdao.

PLA Navy Commander Admiral Wu Shengli announced the start of the four-day festivities, which will include seminars, a sampan race and a fleet review.

China will display its nuclear powered submarines for the first time during the fleet parade on Thursday, Ding Yiping, deputy commander of the PLA Navy, said yesterday.

"It is not a secret that China has nuclear submarines, which are key to safeguarding our country's national security," Ding said, adding that the number of China's nuclear submarines were far less than those of the United States and Russia.

The celebration, with a theme of "peaceful ocean," will feature the participation of 21 foreign naval vessels from 14 countries, including the United States and Russia, and delegations from 29 countries.

Many senior national naval officials, including the chief of US naval operations and the Russian Navy's commander-in-chief, will also attend the celebration.

In his address at the opening ceremony, Wu first expressed gratitude on behalf of the PLA Navy to naval officials and soldiers from across the world for their participation in China's celebration.

"I wish the festivities here will serve as an opportunity for different countries to obtain a better picture of China's naval forces and increase exchanges and mutual understanding for more cooperation between countries to safeguard oceanic safety," Wu said.

Representatives from the visiting countries and naval ships, the PLA and Qingdao City joined the opening ceremony, which ended with a show of fireworks.

All the naval vessels held a rendezvous in Qingdao about one hour before the celebration started.

The PLA Navy was founded on April 23, 1949 with nine warships and 17 boats obtained after a unit of the Kuomintang's second coastal defense fleet defected to the PLA.

Through six decades of development, a modern force for maritime operations has taken shape, consisting of combined arms with both nuclear and conventional means of operations.


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