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China to mark 60th anniversary of navy

China's navy is set to hold a huge maritime ceremony to mark its 60th anniversary in April, and has invited ships and top officials from dozens of countries to attend, state media said on Saturday.

world Updated: Apr 18, 2009 13:58 IST

China's navy is set to hold a huge maritime ceremony to mark its 60th anniversary in April, and has invited ships and top officials from dozens of countries to attend, state media said on Saturday.

The four-day celebration set to begin on Monday in and off the coast of the eastern city of Qingdao -- will involve 21 naval vessels from 14 countries, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Officials from 29 nations are also due to attend, including the US chief of naval operations, and the Russian navy commander-in-chief, according to the agency.

The ceremony, which will include a fleet parade and a sampan race, will mark the founding of the People's Liberation Army's navy on April 23, 1949, Xinhua said, months before communist China was formally established in October. The navy was formed when a unit of the Kuomintang's coastal defence fleet defected to the rival Communists, bringing with it nine warships and 17 other boats, Xinhua said.

Kuomintang nationalist forces had been locked in a civil war with the Communists, who eventually won and came to power on October 1, 1949.