Hawaii to Host 10th Western Pacific Naval Symposium

Monday, October 30, 2006
The U.S. Navy and Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet have invited naval leaders from 22 countries to Honolulu for the 10th Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) to discuss maritime security and other issues affecting the region’s navies. The symposium, scheduled for Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, allows participants to engage in discussions and training on critical international topics, such as combined exercises, regional security, military exchange programs, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, interoperability, navigation and communications.

“We are all professional sailors,” said Adm. Gary Roughead, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “The Western Pacific Naval Symposium brings regional naval leaders together to discuss matters of importance and interest that lead to enhanced regional security and prosperity.” The theme for this year’s symposium is "Maritime Security: Opportunities for Cooperation.” The goal of the symposium is to increase naval cooperation in the Western Pacific by providing a forum to discuss maritime issues among regional naval leaders contributing to common understanding and agreement.”

Navies that have habitual working relationships are better able to respond to disasters, provide humanitarian assistance, deter transnational criminal activity and respond to contingencies. Participants develop and enhance interpersonal relationships that enable them to collaborate and cooperate, such as during the multinational relief effort in response to the 2004 tsunami and this past summer’s USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) humanitarian mission to the Western Pacific.

Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Mullen, will represent the U.S. Navy at the symposium. WPNS members are Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United States and Vietnam. Observers are Bangladesh, Canada, Chile and India.

Member countries must have territory geographically located in the Western Pacific, while observer countries include those adjacent to the Western Pacific. Applications for member or observer status are considered at the symposium.

The biennial symposium was last hosted by Singapore in 2004. The last time it was hosted by the United States was in 1992 in Hawaii. WPNS stemmed from the 1987 international seapower symposium where the benefits of free discussion between chiefs of navies led to an agreement in the Western Pacific Regional Committee to hold a similar regional meeting. The first WPNS was held in 1988.

Source: NavNews From U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

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