One year ago, China undertook its largest-ever naval parade. It was conducted in waters off the southern Hainan Province and was hailed as a display of the Chinese navy's development and its will to become a powerful force in defending the nation and maintaining peace.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, also chairman of the Central Military Commission, told military officers during the parade on April 12, 2018, that the Chinese navy must resolutely safeguard national rights and interests and strive for more contributions to maintaining world and regional peace and stability.
The sea parade included the aircraft carrier Liaoning, with over 50 war ships and more than 10,000 navy personnel. Experts say that the display symbolized the modernization of the Chinese navy.
"The Chinese navy has started to engage in a combat formation with carrier groups, plus amphibian assault groups, and nuclear submarines. This is standard for sea powers. And, carriers mean we have a steady increase in combat capabilities far offshore," said Yin Zhuo, director of the PLA Navy Information Expert Committee.
This, according to him, is the result of a 70-year development and has a consistent stance.
The aircraft carrier Liaoning during an exercise, April 20, 2018.
Experts say that China has adopted a military policy that is defensive in nature and from which it will never deviate, and the build-up of a strong naval force will help the country continuously carry out the defensive strategy and contribute to marine peace.
Such efforts have been seen in the near-sea defense, and in peacekeeping missions far offshore like in Yemen.
"Our warships can evacuate our citizens in this area, and also will help us to better fulfill peacekeeping missions," said Zhang Junshe, vice president of the Naval Research Institute.
With these, the Chinese navy's modernization and oceanic drills became routine.
The PLA Navy will celebrate its 70th anniversary on April 23, and multinational naval activities will be held in Qingdao City, east China's Shandong Province.
They will include a high-level seminar and an international fleet review. Over 60 countries are confirmed to participate and multiple countries have confirmed that they'll send naval vessels to the review.