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The largest navy in Asia has a new commander at the wheel. 

Lieutenant Admiral Shen Jinlong will replace 71 year old Admiral Wu Shengli and take command of the Peoples Liberation Army Navy in a ceremony believed to be taking place before the end of January 2017, according to China Daily.

The takeover comes amidst rising tensions in the South China Sea and publicised critique by Donald Trump toward China’s military buildup within the region.  Shen Jinlong could prove instrumental in either strengthening US-PRC relations or deepening current tensions between the two superpower nations.

Lieutenant Admiral Sen Jinlong’s previous naval appointments have included the command of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla under the North Sea Fleet and command of the Navy’s Lyushun Logistics Support Base.  In 2010 Shen Jinlong was appointed President of the Dalian Naval Academy and in 2014 he led a task group of three naval vessels in the Rim of the Pacific exercise in Hawaii.

Shen’s appointment as Commander of the People’s Liberation Army Navy certainly comes at a time of great importance at both national and international levels and his actions upon command are sure to be under the closest of observation on the global defence stage.

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