Royal Navy joins partners in Asia-Pacific region

The Royal Navy has been successful in its application for Observer membership of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS).

Alongside Colombia, the UK’s application was approved unanimously by  the representatives of  the 25 nations attending the Symposium in Padang, Indonesia under the Chairmanship of Admiral Ade Supandi, Chief of the Indonesian Navy.

WPNS was founded in 1988 with the aims of helping the navies of the region to increase cooperation and the ability to operate together, as well as to build trust and confidence by providing a framework to discuss maritime issues, the exchange of information, the practice and demonstration of capabilities, and exchange of personnel.

By 1998 the original members had increased to 17 members and two Observers, and by 2014 to 21 members and 4 Observers.

The Royal Navy has a long history of engagement with all of the nations represented at WPNS; we sent ships and submarines to search for missing flight MH370; we were one of the first navies to respond to Typhoon Haiyan in 2014; and, more happily, we regularly deploy ships and personnel to train with local navies.

Rear Admiral Alex Burton

In 2014 the members adopted the Code for unexpected Encounters at Sea, aimed at minimising the risk of misunderstanding between the warships of  navies operating in the region.

Rear Admiral Alex Burton, the leader of the UK delegation said: “I am delighted that the Royal Navy’s application to join the Western Pacific Naval Symposium has been accepted. 

"We are looking forward to working with the partner navies of WPNS to deepen our already strong ties with the Asia-Pacific region. 

“The Royal Navy has a long history of engagement with all of the nations represented at WPNS; we sent ships and submarines to search for missing flight MH370; we were one of the first navies to respond to Typhoon Haiyan in 2014; and, more happily, we regularly deploy ships and personnel to train with local navies. 

"The importance of the diplomatic, economic and cultural links between the UK and the Asia Pacific region were recognised during our recent Strategic Defence and Security Review and I am equally delighted to learn from our new colleagues as we strive towards our common aims of peace and partnership.”