Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Vice-Admiral Shen Jinlong is new Commander of the People’s Liberation Army Navy

PLAN Commander

(Photo : Xinhua) Vice-Admiral Shen Jinlong.

Vice-Admiral Shen Jinlong, whose recent career has seen a meteoric rise through the leadership ranks, has been promoted the eighth Commander of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), and will be the man whose shoulders will bear the burden of responsibility in any war against the United States over the South China Sea.

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Admiral Shen, who is only 60, was formerly Commander of the South Sea Fleet responsible for enforcing China's policies affecting the South China Sea. The fleet, the second most powerful of PLAN's three fleets, has under its command the CNS Liaoning (CV-16), China's only operational aircraft carrier, but one only suitable for training purposes.

Admiral Shen succeeds Admiral Wu Shengli, 71, who is retiring.

Admiral Shen became Commander of the South Sea Fleet only in December 2014. Before this promotion, Admiral Shen served briefly as Commander of the Support Base of the North Sea Fleet. His flag experience at sea is limited, however, since he has led PLAN warships for only two years.

He was promoted to Vice-Admiral on July 29, 2016 by the Central Military Commission headed by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In addition to his combat postings, Admiral Shen was President of the "Naval Academy of Commanding" from 2011 to 2014 and President of the Dalian Naval Academy from 2010-2011.

With headquarters at the Yulin Naval Base on Hainan Island, the South Sea Fleet's surface force consists of the CNS Liaoning; 11 destroyers of various classes; 17 frigates and 11 corvettes.

The fleet's submarine force consists of eight obsolete Ming-class diesel electric submarines. The flagship of the fleet is the AOR/AK 953 Nanchang.

Most of the fleet's surface warships are located at the Zhanjiang Naval Base while all of the fleet's submarines are at the Yulin Naval Base, which is a huge underground naval base.  Yulin is also home base for all of China's ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) but these are not under the command of the South Sea Fleet.

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