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China to flex naval muscle in unprecedented show

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AFP
Thursday, April 23, 2009

China is set to display its maritime might in an unprecedented show Thursday as it parades its warships and nuclear submarines with 14 other nations to mark its navy’s 60th anniversary.

The fleet parade takes place in the eastern city of Qingdao along with 21 foreign vessels, just weeks after tensions flared up following a naval stand-off with the United States in the South China Sea.

China will unveil its nuclear-powered submarines for the first time during the parade — only the fourth to take place since 1949 and the first on such a large and international scale.

“It’s a show of force, of power,” said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, professor of political science at Hong Kong Baptist University.

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“It’s a public relations display with a double message — China as an integrator, showing it is keeping with the rules of the international game, but also showing it is now in the big power arena.”

China’s destroyers, escorts and submarines will be shown off to the public as will ships from the United States, Russia and France, in what the Asian giant says is a bid to promote understanding about its military development.

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This article was posted: Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 3:18 am





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