Lieutenant Admiral Shen Jinlong has been appointed commander of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy.
There hasn’t been a formal announcement made to date, but a statement on China’s Ministry of Defense website used the new title.
60-year-old Shen, from Shanghai, replaces Admiral Wu Shengli, 71, to lead Asia’s largest navy.
During his career, Shen had been:
• commander of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla under the North Sea Fleet
• commander of the Navy's Lyushun Logistic Support Base
• president of the Dalian Naval Academy
• president of the Naval Command College in Nanjing
• fleet commander of the South Sea Fleet, the fleet that protects China’s claims in the South China Sea.
The appointment comes amid growing tension in the South China Sea. Shen is known to foreign naval leaders. He led China’s participation in the Rim of the Pacific exercises out of Pearl Harbor in 2014. He also attended the International Seapower Symposium in September 2016 at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
Local media have indicated that the navy commissioned 18 ships in 2016, including missile destroyers, corvettes and guided missile frigates, and it is building a second aircraft carrier.
Shen was promoted to lieutenant admiral in July last year.