US will not send ships to China’s upcoming naval celebration



YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Navy will not be sending ships to China’s multinational naval celebration this month marking the 70th anniversary of the Chinese navy, according to Defense Department officials.

Instead, the U.S. Embassy Beijing defense attaché will represent the United States at the event in Qingdao, China, April 22-25, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn told Stars and Stripes in an email Thursday.

“The United States Navy will continue to engage the PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy) through established military-to-military dialogues, such as the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement working groups and Rules of Behavior discussions,” Eastburn said in the email.

China’s Ministry of National Defense announced March 28 that 60 countries will send navy delegations to its celebration, with many sending naval vessels, according to a transcript of ministry spokesman Senior Col. Wu Quian’s monthly press conference.

U.S. allies Japan, South Korea and the Philippines are sending vessels from their navies to participate, according to a report Friday by the Japan Times.

Events surrounding the anniversary will include “a high-level seminar, an international fleet review, military tattoo performances and cultural and sports activities,” Wu said, according to the transcript.