The fleet, which protects Beijing-claimed assets in the South China Sea, has under its command the CNS Liaoning (CV-16), China's first aircraft carrier, commissioned during Admiral Wu's watch.
The fact that so soon after his 2014 promotion Shen has been appointed to the top job came as a surprise for many, according to Chinese-language Hong Kong daily newspaper Ming Pao. In the past, Admiral Shen served briefly as commander of the support base of the North Sea Fleet, the Navy's Lushun Logistical Base, the Dalian Naval Academy, and the Navy's Command Academy.
Beijing's top-ranking Navy personnel shuffle comes amid international criticism of China's growing assertiveness in the South China Sea. On Wednesday, US President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, said Beijing should be denied access to the artificial islands it has built in the disputed maritime area.