China on Monday warned against attempts to carry out maritime containment, with a senior military officer telling a regional navy symposium in the eastern port city of Qingdao that such a policy would divide the world and cause turbulence.

Gen. Zhang Youxia, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission -- China's highest national defense organization -- said in a speech at the event attended by representatives of around 30 countries that global ocean governance faces "many challenges, which require us to unite" to jointly safeguard maritime security.

Gen. Zhang Youxia, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, speaks during the Western Pacific Naval Symposium in the Chinese port city of Qingdao on April 22, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

His comments came amid rising tensions in the South China Sea, where China is involved in territorial disputes with the Philippines and other neighboring countries, as well as Sino-U.S. rivalry for influence over Pacific island nations.

Participants of the four-day biennial Western Pacific Naval Symposium through Wednesday, including officers from Australia, France, India, Japan, Russia and the United States will discuss maritime security cooperation and ways to avoid accidental collisions under the theme of "seas for shared future."

China last hosted a meeting of the navy symposium in 2014. The previous session was held in Yokohama, Japan, in November 2022.

On Sunday, the Chinese navy opened several warships and facilities in Qingdao, Ningbo and Beijing for public visits to commemorate the 75th anniversary of its founding.

Participants of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium pose for a photo on April 22, 2024, in Qingdao, China. (Kyodo)