QINGDAO, Shandong: China's naval chief Monday welcomed delegations from 29 naval forces attending the celebrations for the navy's 60th anniversary at Qingdao harbor.
In a banquet attended by delegation chiefs, captains and crews of visiting vessels, Chinese navy commander Admiral Wu Shengli declared the opening of a four-day celebration under the theme of "Harmonious Ocean", which marks the anniversary on Thursday.
"The ocean is the common home to navies of the world. It is the responsibility of every navy to protect maritime security while establishing a peaceful and harmonious maritime environment," said the commander inside a hall next to the harbor where 21 ships from 14 foreign navies rest until joining a fleet review on Thursday.
A large fleet from the host country was also deployed for the review, only the fourth time one has been held in China since 1949.
The admiral also told the naval leaders that the Chinese navy, after six decades of development, will expand cooperation in the high seas while strengthening its capabilities to perform diverse mission on its way to modernization.
The celebrations, which will feature military, music and sports exchanges starting today, aim to promote the ideas of "Peace, Harmony, Cooperation" by the Chinese navy, said the admiral.
Senior Colonel Li Jie, a researcher at the Chinese Navy's Military Academy, said a lack of naval exchanges had led to misunderstandings in the past.
"But with more foreign exchanges like this, the navies will have a chance to exchange their views on the maritime order," he said.
All naval vessels attending the fleet review assembled at the naval harbor in west Qingdao.
The maritime celebration has also attracted well-traveled warships from major powers, such as the destroyer USS Fitzgerald of the US and frigate Varyag from Russia. China's neighbors India and Pakistan have both sent two-ship fleets to Qingdao.
With a displacement of 18,000 ton, the South Korean navy's landing helicopter platform assault ship, Dokdo, dwarfed all other vessels at the fleet review.
Visiting warships from France, Australia and New Zealand have previously stopped over at Chinese ports like Shanghai and Hong Kong in recent years, while the Bangladeshi and Thai navies have also sent their elite warships previously bought from the Chinese navy.