19th Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) Convenes in Qingdao

19th Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) Convenes in Qingdao

Qingdao, The Gulf Observer: The 19th biennial meeting of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) commenced on Sunday in Qingdao, a port city located in east China’s Shandong Province, under the theme “Seas of Shared Future.”

The four-day gathering convened over 180 navy representatives from 29 countries, including Australia, Cambodia, Chile, France, and India, among others.

During the meeting, delegates will conduct a comprehensive review of activities undertaken since the 18th biennial meeting, set the future agenda, and deliberate on key issues such as the WPNS Business Charter, the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), and unmanned systems.

Foreign navy leaders have been invited to engage in discussions centered around the Global Security Initiative, maritime peace, maritime order based on security cooperation and international laws, and global maritime governance.

Liang Wei, a senior officer with China’s Naval Research Academy (NRA), emphasized the high level of attendance and participation by officers from member states, underscoring the symposium’s vigor and the growing influence of the Chinese navy.

China, as a founding member of the WPNS, previously hosted the 14th biennial meeting in Qingdao in 2014, during which member states endorsed the CUES—a navy-to-navy template aimed at mitigating misunderstandings and preventing maritime accidents.

Currently comprising 23 member states and seven observing states, the WPNS facilitates meetings and exchange programs for naval officers at various career stages, promoting communication and cooperation across international naval forces.

Ren Xiaofeng, another senior officer with the NRA, highlighted the symposium’s role in fostering communication and exchanges among naval officers from diverse countries.

In addition to discussions, delegates will partake in military and cultural tours and enjoy a light show featuring international naval themes.

The WPNS serves as a significant platform for showcasing China’s naval capabilities and enhancing global understanding of the Chinese navy, noted Zheng Hong, also a senior officer with the NRA, emphasizing China’s commitment to developing a world-class navy as it commemorates the 75th founding anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.