The People's Liberation Army Navy has appointed a new commander — 60-year-old Lieutenant Admiral Shen Jinlong.
In a news release distributed by the PLA Navy on Friday, Shen spoke in a video conference with officers and sailors of the 25th Escort Fleet in the Gulf of Aden in his new capacity as PLA Navy commander.
That means he has replaced Admiral Wu Shengli, 71, to take charge of the largest navy in Asia. Although the Navy did not disclose when the transition took place, observers believe it was this week.
Shen, a Shanghai native, had been commander of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla under the North Sea Fleet and then commander of the Navy's Lyushun Logistic Support Base.
In 2010, he was appointed president of the Dalian Naval Academy and promoted to the rank of rear admiral. The next year, he became president of the Naval Command College in Nanjing.
In the summer of 2014, Shen led three warships to take part in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise in Hawaii. After the exercise finished, the ships paid a 5-day visit to San Diego, California.
He was named deputy commander of the South Sea Fleet as soon as he returned to China in August that year. In December 2014, he replaced Lieutenant Admiral Jiang Weilie, who was named deputy chief of the PLA Navy, to become the fleet's commander.
He was promoted to lieutenant admiral in July.
Shen's predecessor, Wu Shengli, joined the PLA in 1964 and graduated from the former PLA Surveying and Mapping Academy. He was captain of several frigates and destroyers and gradually moved up through the ranks of the Navy.
Wu was commander of the South Sea Fleet before taking the job of deputy chief of general staff in 2004. In April 2006, he was named commander of the PLA Navy. He is the second longest-running commander of the PLA Navy, surpassed only by Xiao Jinguang, who was the Navy's chief from 1950 to 1980.
The last time Wu appeared in media reports as the PLA Navy's commander was on December 28 when he attended a symposium that marked the eighth anniversary of the Navy's escort mission in the Gulf of Aden.
Wu is still a member of the Central Military Commission, the country's highest military organ, but his new duties remain unknown.