China Hosts Summit of World's Top Navies: USA also participates

A four-day meeting of representatives of the Chinese and 30 other most powerful navies in the world began in the Chinese city of Qingdao. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Steven Kohler to attend Western Pacific Naval Symposium on behalf of the US

by Sededin Dedovic
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China Hosts Summit of World's Top Navies: USA also participates
© Omar Marques / getty Images

A four-day meeting of representatives of China and 30 other most powerful navies in the world began in the Chinese city of Qingdao, with the presence of a delegation from the United States Navy, reports Reuters. Admiral Stephen Coler, commander of the Pacific Fleet, will be present at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium on behalf of the US, a source confirmed to the British agency.

Chinese media reported that delegations from Australia, France, India, South Korea, Russia and Britain were also present at the meeting. On Monday, participants will discuss behind closed doors how to address challenges in maritime security, as well as the Code of Conduct for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, guidelines formulated 10 years ago to reduce tensions among naval forces.

At a preliminary meeting held in January, the formation of a working group to prevent drone collisions at sea was discussed, Chinese media reported. The event coincides with the annual US-Philippines joint military exercises, which begin on Monday, for the first time outside Philippine territorial waters.

The United States, Japan and the Philippines signed a cooperation agreement at a trilateral summit last week, expressing concern over China's "dangerous and aggressive behavior in the South China Sea," while Beijing denounced the agreement as "bloc politics," according to Reuters.

A military expert and former researcher at China's Naval Research Institute, Cao Weidong, said the US-Philippines joint exercises this time cover a larger area with more troops, including anti-submarine and anti-missile exercises.

"It is not a problem when the US conducts defense preparation exercises with the Philippines, but when these exercises become offensive in nature and pose a threat to neighboring countries, we must not only be on high alert, but also react," Cao said.

Contact between representatives of the US and Chinese militaries was renewed on Tuesday, when US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Chinese counterpart Dong Jun for the first time in nearly two years. The previous meeting of representatives of the strongest navies in the world was held in Japan in 2022.

China hosted the multilateral meeting in 2014, and this year coincides with the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy, which Beijing marks on Tuesday.

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