Military ships from 14 different countries took part in a floating parade off the coastal Chinese city of Qingdao, marking the 60th anniversary of the China's navy.
China's modern navy has come a long way. It developed from the ships that surrendered or defected from the losing Nationalist side, during the Chinese civil war in 1949.
There were 25 People's Liberation Army navy vessels and 31 aircraft in Thursday's parade. The Chinese flotilla included two nuclear submarines, which was the first time a Chinese nuclear sub has appeared in a public ceremony.
Mission: safeguard world peace
Chinese President Hu Jintao was aboard the destroyer Shijiazhuang, as he reviewed the international naval craft that followed the Chinese.
The order of ships was based on tonnage. First in line was a Russian cruiser, followed by destroyers from the United States, India and South Korea.
In meetings earlier in the day, President Hu assured foreign delegations that the PLA (People's Liberation Army) navy will safeguard world peace and development and will not be a threat to other nations.
Paul Holtom, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, calls the Chinese naval presence "fairly significant" and a possible indication of wider ambitions.
"I think this also ties into the discussions on whether China is going to go ahead with an aircraft carrier, which would really give it capabilities to project its power well beyond the South China Sea," he said.
US Defense Department isn't worried
The Pentagon has said China's military development is not worrying, but has stressed it wants more clarity on Beijing's intentions.
Richard Dromerhauser is the commanding officer of the USS Fitzgerald, which took part in the Chinese festivities.
"We look for transparency, but transparency in intentions, capabilities. We just to want to make sure as we all work together, as we all transit, that we can do so in a manner that is safe and efficient for everybody," he said.
In this week's festivities in Qingdao, American and Chinese sailors toured each other's vessels. The U.S. delegation is headed by the chief of naval operations, Admiral Gary Roughead, who met with his PLA counterpart, Admiral Wu Shengli, in Beijing Saturday, before flying together with him to Qingdao Sunday.