China plans multinational fleet review marking navy founding

BEIJING — China plans to hold a multinational fleet review next month in the northern port of Qingdao to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army Navy.

Defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian told reporters Thursday that more than 60 countries will send representatives to the celebrations and that some would also send ships to take part.

He gave no details, and said further information would be released later. China has been building new, more sophisticated navy ships and submarines at a world-beating pace, challenging U.S. forces and regional rivals such as Japan and India.

That's given China a growing ability to conduct operations from ports, and while Beijing says its navy is purely for defense, it's seen as helping cement control over the South China Sea.

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