Twenty five countries to participate in WPNS

China Military Online    2014-04-21 17:09:02

  QINGDAO, April 20 (ChinaMil) -- Liang Yang, spokesman of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAN), answered questions pertaining to the West Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) hosted by the PLAN and the multi-national maritime joint exercise at the press conference held by the PLAN in Qingdao of east China’s Shandong province, on the afternoon of April 20, 2014.

  According to Liang Yang, from April 22 to 23, the PLAN is scheduled to host the WPNS for the first time. At the upcoming WPNS, the attendees will review various activities carried out by the WPNS from 2013 to 2014, confirm the arrangements of the activities to be held from 2014 to 2024, organize exchanges on topics themed by "cooperation, trust and win-win", and discuss the search and rescue actions of the missing Malaysian MH370 airplane by various navies of participating countries.

  Wu Shengli, member of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and commander of the PLAN, will make a keynote speech as chairman of the WPNS this time, and naval leaders of some participating countries will also speak for exchanging views.

  According to Liang Yang, the symposium this year will be attended by 20 member countries — Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, France, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Tonga, Thailand, Singapore, the U.S. and Vietnam, as well as 3 observer countries — Bangladesh, India and Mexico. The naval leaders and representatives of 24 countries, with the host China included, will attend the symposium. In addition, Pakistan will be invited to take part in the event as an applicant for WPNS observer, after approved by all the member countries

  Liang Yang also said that a multi-national maritime exercise will be held on the founding anniversary of the PLAN during the WPNS. Warships from seven countries — namely, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan and India — will be invited to attend the joint exercise codenamed "Sea Cooperation 2014" and other activities such as Warship Visiting Day, on-deck reception, and sampan racing. So far, the seven visiting warships have all arrived in Qingdao.

  In reply to questions concerning the relation between the WPNS and the maritime joint exercise, Liang Yang said that the multi-national maritime joint exercise is not an event held under the framework of the WPNS. Rather, it is a commemorative activity for the founding anniversary of the PLAN. Following the practice of other host countries, the PLAN will hold the multi-national maritime joint exercise with a view to promote pragmatic cooperation among navies from various countries.

  With regard to the issue that China doesn't invite Japanese warship to participate in the maritime joint exercise, Liang Yang stated that the PLAN sent invitations for participating in the WPNS to all member countries in accordance with the regulations and practice of the WPNS. It should be emphasized that the multi-national maritime joint exercise is not an activity to be held under the framework of the WPNS. It is an event to commemorate the founding of the PLAN. China has invited not only the member countries of the WPNS but also some non-membership countries to send their warships for the exercise.

  Liang Yang stressed that since a series of erroneous moves taken by the Japanese government have severely hurt Chinese people and impaired the China-Japan bilateral relationship, it is not proper to invite the warship of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) to attend any activities related to the founding anniversary of the PLAN.

  When answering questions about the multi-national maritime joint exercise, Liang Yang said that the exercise to be held in the waters off Qingdao will focus on maritime joint search and rescue. Participating countries will dispatch surface vessels, ship-borne helicopters and Marine Corps to the exercise. The participating forces of the Chinese side are mainly from the North China Sea Fleet of the PLAN. All the Chinese and foreign participating warships will form a joint taskforce to carry out drills on various subjects together.

  Speaking of the absence of marine parade, Liang Yang stated that the Malaysian MH370 flight carrying a total of 239 passengers, including 154 Chinese passengers, is still unaccounted for, leaving families of the passengers in distress. Chinese government attaches great importance to the search and rescue work for the missing plane, and the Chinese military has constantly sent out naval and aviation forces to conduct search and rescue operation. Given no convincing reason for the plane's disappearance has been found, long hours of search came to naught. Under this situation, the Chinese side decides not to hold the marine parade which was understood by every participating country.