China's aircraft carrier Liaoning in a training mission in an unidentified sea area, July 13, 2017. (Xinhua/Zeng Tao)
QINGDAO, April 20 (Xinhua) -- China will host a four-day celebration in the port city of Qingdao, Shandong Province, for the 70th founding anniversary of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, including a grand naval parade on April 23.
China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, and latest nuclear submarines, destroyers and fighter jets will be among the 32 Chinese vessels and 39 warplanes displayed in the parade, PLA Navy Deputy Commander Qiu Yanpeng told a press conference Saturday.
"Some vessels will make their debut for the first time," Qiu said.
During the parade staged in Qingdao and its nearby sea areas and airspace, the vessels will sail in six groups: submarines, destroyers, frigates, landing ships, auxiliary ships, and aircraft carrier.
The planes will fly in 10 echelons, showcasing aircraft for early warning, reconnaissance, anti-submarine patrol, as well as bombers, fighters, carrier-based fighters, and carrier-based helicopters.
Also taking part in the parade are nearly 20 foreign vessels from over 10 countries, including Russia, Thailand, Vietnam and India, showing to the world the "firm determination to safeguard peace and seek development with joint efforts," Qiu said.
The foreign vessels range from destroyers and frigates to landing ships.
Organizing multinational naval parades is a unique ceremonial activity of navies, according to Qiu.
April 23 marks the 70th founding anniversary of the PLA Navy.
The four-day multinational naval events, to start on April 22, will feature various activities including high-level seminars and cultural and sports exchanges.
More than 60 countries from Asia, Africa, Europe, America and Oceania will send delegations to join the celebration, and over 30 of the countries will send major naval leaders.
"Organizing multinational events is an established international practice and a unique way of naval exchanges," said Qiu, noting China had hold such activities for the 60th navy anniversary in 2009 when 29 countries sent their delegations.
A FORCE OF PEACE
"The PLA Navy is always a force of peace, and will never pose a threat to any other country," Qiu told reporters. "With its growth, the PLA Navy has provided the world with more and more security products."
Since 2008, the navy has sent 32 escort fleets, 103 vessels, 69 helicopters and more than 27,000 officers and soldiers to escort over 6,600 vessels, more than a half of which were foreign merchant ships.
Since 2010, the naval hospital ship Peace Ark has traveled to 43 countries and regions and provided free medical services to over 230,000 people, Qiu said.
In 2015, a Chinese naval vessel evacuated 621 Chinese citizens and over 270 people of other nationalities from war-torn Yemen, he added.
The upcoming multinational events are expected to set up a platform for navies of different countries to strengthen communication and understanding, according to Qiu. "They create opportunities for navy leaders of different countries to discuss maritime security cooperation." Enditem