|Participants attend the 14th Western Pacific Naval Symposium in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, April 22, 2014. A biennial conference of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium opened in Qingdao Tuesday. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)
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QINGDAO, Shandong, April 22 (Xinhua) -- A biennial conference of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium opened in the Chinese naval port of Qingdao Tuesday, attracting more than 140 delegates from its member countries and observers.
Rules on accidental maritime encounters were passed at the symposium after reaching consensus among all the member states.
It is the first time for China, one of its 12 founding members, to host the biennial symposium. The WPNS was established as proposed by the United States and its allies in 1987 with the goals to promote pragmatic cooperation between the navies of countries bordering the Pacific Ocean region.
Delegates at the two-day event will review the work of WPNS-sponsored seminars and other activities for the past year and deliberate maritime regulations, among other discussions and exchanges.
Participants will discuss and vote on whether to accept Pakistan as a WPNS observer at the symposium.
Multi-country maritime exercises will be conducted off the coast of Qingdao from Tuesday to Wednesday to mark the 65th founding anniversary of the People's Liberation Army Navy. The exercises, originally scheduled from April 23 to 24, are not held under the framework of the WPNS, a Chinese navy spokesman said on Sunday.
Seven ships from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Singapore, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and Brunei will join the exercises.
China will send warships, supply ships, a hospital ship, helicopters and marines to the exercises, which feature joint maritime search and rescue operations.
The WPNS now has 21 member countries, including Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, United States and Vietnam. It also has three observers: Bangladesh, India and Mexico.